This makes cents: Penny project adds up to lots of help
The missionary ministry reaches out to help individuals and organizations.
By LINDA M. LINONIS
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
CAMPBELL -- "If you save pennies, the dollars will save themselves" is adage that Ella M. Taylor Johnson remembers from her childhood.
With pennies in mind, Johnson was the catalyst behind a monthlong penny collection at Shiloh Baptist Church, 238 Bright Ave., where she has been a member for 55 years. She suggested the project as one for the missionary ministry, which helps people and organizations in various ways.
As a nod to another ministry member, Delphine Baldwin Casey, the pennies were collected during October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Casey, a detective sergeant in charge of the planning and training division with Youngstown Police Department, was the officer in charge of what now is called the Family Investigative Services Unit when it was formed a decade ago. She also started a sexual harassment education program in Youngstown schools.
"It's our work to reach out and help," Johnson said. "We try to help people in need, regardless of their condition."
Benefited from collection
Johnson said the missionary ministry has made donations to Protestant Family Services, Sojourner House, Kerrwood Center, Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, shut-ins and the elderly within the 125-member church. "We also helped to sponsor a girl who was a missionary to Africa," she said.
At last count, the penny tally was at 60,000. With a few days left in October, weekend church services and some other donations to add into the till, the nine members of the missionary ministry are hoping for 100,000 pennies, or 1,000. The pennies have been collected in a container in the church lobby. The funds will help victims of domestic violence, Casey said, and other charitable causes.
"One day we spent from noon to 3 p.m. rolling pennies. We rolled about 23,000," said Juanita McCullough, ministry president who said she "grew up in the church."
"We're here to help where it's needed ... at home or abroad," she said, referring to the missionary sponsorship.
The ministry sponsored the penny project for a specific need. An annual fundraiser, McCullough said, is a Mission Day the first Monday in October. A luncheon and program featuring a speaker or musical presentation is held. Funds are raised through a program booklet in which individuals, families and businesses buy space to offer greetings or advertise. The money goes to various charitable organizations or to help individuals in need. "Other churches have Mission Days and we support them and they support us," McCullough said.
"I've been blessed," said McCullough, a divorced mother of three sons who is retired. "I know how it is. It's good to help someone else and make it easier for them."
Tamara Robinson joined the church four years ago. Her brother, the Rev. Hubert Clary is pastor, and their mother, the late Rev. Maretta W. Clardy, was an assistant pastor. Robinson serves as the instructor for the group's Bible study.
Robinson said the penny project meshed well into the ministry's work. "We cultivate our mission work according to the word of God," she said. The duty to care for those in need is encouraged by Jesus, she said.
Though the project is altruistic, the practical side is how it might help individuals and organizations.
Casey said she used the penny collection in another fund-raiser at the YPD with the theme of "No change is too small."
That idea helped make the project a success and involved the entire congregation, no matter what their means or age. "People are willing to give pennies. Even the youngest child can feel proud to give to something worthwhile," Casey said. And those of limited financial means also can contribute, she added, and feel a part of something bigger.
"The project is perfect for us and fits into our mission," she said. "It's our duty to help people and families."