By: Pastor John Leon, Executive Director
Probably, second only to the theme of God’s love, the emphasis to always be thankful to God in all things is a salient Scriptural strand throughout all of God’s word.
A couple come to mind… “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17).” Or, as another declares, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Ps. 106:1).” It is clear the Lord values a grateful heart.
Therefore, it would be gross negligence on our part, here at Albany Helping Hands, if we did not express our gratefulness to God, and for you, since you were an integral part of providing for us a record year of blessings in 2017. Perhaps these blessings occurred because God knew the need for services would greatly increase.
Food and Bed
We provided a record number of meals (87,648) representing an 11.2 percent increase over the previous year. Also, the need for shelter increased by 12.6 percent, as over 36,000 bed nights were provided.
The last five months of the year we were operating at maximum occupancy, which was unusual, but understandable due to the acute housing shortage in our area and statewide.
And, speaking of housing, our board seized the opportunity in purchasing three new properties—two adjacent to our main campus on Ninth Ave., as well as the former church building of Pastor Les Bailey, the founder of this mission. This residential building will be renovated and designated for single mothers with children. Certainly, this will fill a tremendous need for such housing in our community.
Also, one of the other homes is already occupied with five residents, who would have been out in the cold if this property had not been purchased, due to our lack of available beds.
Jason Gould Memorial Tractor
Another tremendous blessing was the recent purchase of “Jason’s tractor.” It is not new but is a solid “used” tractor that will be very helpful on our woodlot and will be invaluable for other various needs. Thank you to all who gave designated donations for this project. (For more information on the Jason Gould story and the fundraising click here).
Yes, indeed, our expenditures increased in 2017 because of the increased needs, but amazingly, so did God’s grace and your giving, for which we are so thankful. We could never do, what we do, without you. For none of which I have shared with you would have been possible, as we endeavor to serve the most desperate and destitute!
As I serve in my capacity, I have many responsibilities, but the one most important to me is the privilege of “listening to the story” of every person who comes to us. Some are more severe than others, and so there are times it is unavoidable for me to shake my head with stunned disbelief at the level of brokenness the person has experienced. But then, in a private moment with God, I express my gratitude to Him that this mission is now here for the most brokenhearted and less fortunate.
Is it any wonder why it is so important to be thankful to God in all we do, “in word or deed?” Therefore, on behalf of our board, staff, and our “guests,” please know how grateful we are to you for every donation and dollar given to us to do what we did in 2017. So grateful to God…and for you, please know this!
Pastor John Leon, Executive Director