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Strings Students Fill Needy Food Pantry

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My name is Alison, and I am a sixteen-year-old tenth-grader who is passionate about using music for ministry. I have taken violin lessons for four and a half years, and I also play viola.

     I live in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, and as Thanksgiving approaches, many people are looking forward to a holiday feast. I’m sure you are as well.

     But what if you didn’t have a Thanksgiving meal?

     What if you didn’t even have tomorrow’s meal?

     Wouldn’t you be thankful for a food pantry with a mission of helping people just like you?

     But what if that food pantry didn’t have enough food to help everyone who needed it?

PLEASE NOTE: We have moved our play-a-thon date to December 6, at the Collegedale Commons.

     Filling Hungry Tummies

     A local non-profit organization, the Samaritan Center, runs a food pantry for those in need. According to the Samaritan Center’s website, “From the second largest food pantry in Hamilton County, every year, the Samaritan Center distributes over 45,000 pieces of food to our neighbors in need, totaling approximately $100,000 in aid.”

     However, the Center has communicated that this year, the need is up by 60%. One of the Samaritan Center’s main resources for filling their food pantry is local churches’ annual Thanksgiving services, when members bring donations for the pantry. With COVID-19, many churches are not having their Thanksgiving services. So, there is a bigger need and fewer donations.

     We want to help!

     Children (and a few adults, too) in the Chattanooga, TN area who play stringed instruments are partnering with our community friends to fill the Samaritan Center’s food pantry to overflowing! We are coming together at the Collegedale Commons for the fifth edition of a play-a-thon called Hope Twinkles on Sunday, December 6.

     The History of Hope Twinkles

     In the fall of 2017, Hope Twinkles was born. The play-a-thon raised money for relief in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. The next year, we sent money to rebuild the music program of a school that was destroyed by the Camp Fire. In 2019, we again focused on hurricane relief, helping a school in the Bahamas. This past spring, we were brought much closer to home when a tornado ripped through our own area, and we went virtual to remain safe and still raise money for our community’s restoration. 

     Between the past four Hope Twinkles play-a-thons, we have raised over $23,000.

     Now, as Thanksgiving approaches, we are turning again to the needy of our own community and those who might not only be lacking a Thanksgiving feast, but also the assurance of their next day’s food.

     Hope Twinkles This Year

     Just a week or two after Thanksgiving, we will be meeting for the Hope Twinkles 2020 play-a-thon. Because of COVID-19 health concerns, we are using hula hoops to help us keep our distance from each other. So, this year’s play-a-thon is going by the name of “Hoope Twinkles!”

     The Hoope Twinkles play-a-thon will last twelve hours, from 8:30 in the morning to 8:30 at night. Violin, viola, and cello players will join each other on a come-and-go basis throughout the day. Our plan is to have someone playing music, all day long!

     Why I Care

     I want to make a positive difference in my world, starting now. The people that the Samaritan Center helps are in my community. Because Hope Twinkles this year is raising money for the Samaritan Center’s food pantry, the play-a-thon allows me to feed the hungry who live right around me.

     I’m just a kid. I don’t have much money, but I can play violin and viola. Hope Twinkles gives me a way to use my talents, skills, and interests to bless others. Hope Twinkles also lets me make a difference, not just the adults.

     Proverbs 14:31 says, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him (ESV).” Participating in Hope Twinkles is being generous to the needy and fulfilling my call as a Christian.

     How You Can Make a Difference

     We are going to play music all day long to raise awareness, but Hope Twinkles’ mission is to turn “Music . . . . to Money . . . . to Ministry.” That’s where we are counting on you, our friends and supporters! Please sponsor me and donate money in support of my efforts to make Hoope Twinkles a success. I will play music. Will you turn that music into money? The gifts we receive will be passed along to the Samaritan Center, and minister to those in need.

     It doesn’t have to be a lot to make a big difference. What if you gave $5? Just imagine what could happen if twenty people each gave five dollars. That’s one hundred dollars! What about $15, or $25? If twenty people each gave fifteen dollars, that’s a total of three hundred dollars. And if twenty people each gave twenty-five dollars, that makes $500!

     Do you want to help, but you don’t feel like you can spare the money? Share this GoFundMe page on social media, email, text, by phone call, or even using Morse code or smoke signals! It only takes a moment to share, and the more people who hear the word, the more money our music will raise for ministry.

     You can learn more about Hoope Twinkles at our web page. Thank you for supporting kids as we turn “Music . . . . to Money . . . . to Ministry,” and share “Food for hungry bodies . . . and souls.” It is a fantastic privilege to partner with you in this project!

Organizer and beneficiary

Alison Menzmer
Ooltewah, TN
Susan Menzmer

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