Signal Community

By Stacey L. Keenan of Kansas City, Missouri, USA

May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. …May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy…  Psalm 72:2, 4

I am the treasurer of our school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and we often get requests from parents to spend funds for a charitable cause or needs of children. But because PTA is for educational purposes we needed to find other ways to meet the needs of the children and families in our school.

One mother came with the idea of a PTA-sponsored “Family Needs Committee.” This committee takes requests from social workers, school counselors, nurses, and administrators to address specific needs in the district. The needs include shampoo, bedsheets, specific sizes of clothing and shoes, and backpacks.

Any PTA parent who wishes to be a part of this committee gives an e-mail address to the committee chair. The chairperson then sends an e-mail to all parents who signed up. Parents then bring the items to a pickup station. From there, they’re delivered to the family by the social-service employee who made the request.

These items are not provided by PTA funds; rather the PTA committee acts as an e-mail transfer agency, and it’s all based on volunteer parent donations.

Good problem: This program has been so successful, many parents have been frustrated. They want to help, but the typical response time to an e-mail is just five minutes, so one must act quickly to be able to donate.

In addition, our district set up a “closet” to supply families in need.

They receive essentials such as new underwear, socks, personal-hygiene items, coats, hats, and scarves.

At a “family night” my daughter’s fourth-grade class collected more than 500 items for the necessities closet.

We have a responsibility as peacemakers and visionaries of justice to address human needs. It’s great that our responses are needed…but we better hurry!

Prayer for Peace:

Gracious God, may we give what we can to help change lives. May we share the peace of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Welcoming Unity in Diversity

Each day this week meditate on unity in diversity. Prayerfully read Doctrine and Covenants 163:8c, which calls “the entire church to become a sanctuary of Christ’s peace, where people from all nations, ethnicities, and life circumstances can be gathered into a spiritual home without dividing walls.”

Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle. Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep you and others from being one in Christ’s peace.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will act without hesitation to meet another’s need.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Norma Mercurio

     /  26 September 2012

    Stacey, what a wonderful idea you have shared! Confidentiality would be so important for the program’s success.
    I am a retired elementary teacher and plan to forward your entry to my formal building.
    Thank you,


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