The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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September 18, 2013

SCCM feeds the need, but needs assistance

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 — Nothing quenches a thirst better than one of those plastic 32-ounce cups filled with your favorite beverage on a hot and muggy summer day. That same kind of cup can serve an even greater purpose when churches in Stanly County use them to collect money for a worthy cause.

Stanly Community Christian Ministry (SCCM) is currently carrying out its fourth “Caring and Sharing Campaign.” Starting in 2010, the charitable organization began a novel idea of taking plastic cups about the same size as one may find at a restaurant or fast food spot and distributing them to participating churches to help raise money.

Pam Rushing came up with the idea with a little help from one of her friends who runs another organization. And what started out as a way to create awareness about the organization has turned into a major capital program that has raised around $20,000 each of the years it has been in existence.

“We kind of came up with a fundraiser that would work in churches. I kind of wanted something that would just work in the churches, that the churches would join together and help the ministry,” said Rushing, a former board member with SCCM who now contributes her time on a volunteer basis.

“So we ordered these stadium cups and it says ‘Caring and Sharing’ and on the other side it says ‘SCCM.’ We just began to contact pastors and ask if they’  be willing to let someone in church present it to the church.

“We don’t really have a certain date we start and end. We make the cups available around August first. Then they can choose the weeks they want to do it in the church.”

SCCM typically likes to get the cups returned by Dec. 1 so all the funds can be counted and put to good use.

“The idea is that you drop in your change, bills too, we hope, and checks into the cups. It’s kind of a building thing,” SCCM Executive Director Roger Thomas said.

“We get cups back that have a $20 bill in them or a check for $50 or whatever. The idea was here’s this thing sitting there and you can contribute to it however you want to. Some people, we get a lot of cups filled with change, quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies.”

SCCM not only has the assistance center that helps people with things such as paying an electric bill or mortgage, it also has a soup kitchen next door that serves between 90-100 meals a day. A similar soup kitchen serves around 120 meals a day in Norwood. The organization also operates the Clothing Closet on East Main in Albemarle.

“Sometimes I think we need to remind folks the ‘Caring and Sharing’ and some of the other fundraisers we have are very important because that generates the money that we are able to assist people with. But the other side of that coin is, we hope people will remember us throughout the year because we have to keep the power on or nobody gets assisted. We have to pay the staff or nobody gets interviewed or assisted,” Thomas said.

“It’s a balancing act between raising money at special events to be able to keep assisting people. But on the other hand, we have to remind donors, and we have a lot of donors throughout the year, sometimes undesignated money is necessary, too, so we can make sure we can keep doing all we need to be doing.”

Rushing had to make a lot of calls those first couple of years to make churches aware of the fundraiser and to collect interest from those that might be interested in helping. Right now, 45 churches in Stanly County participate in the plastic cup drive.

“People have been fantastic. I just can’t say enough for my appreciation for the pastors and church representatives that have taken this and done it in their churches,” Rushing said.

“It would be dead in the water unless they do that. I can’t get it done myself. So we just really appreciate what each pastor and church has done in participating. For me, it’s been a wonderful thing.”

Thomas is optimistic the fundraiser will net positive results again this season.

“We hope for another good year. Economically, it’s a difficult time. Everybody, I think, is acutely aware of how much they can afford to give and those kind of things,” Thomas said.

“We just hope people will give whatever they can and that SCCM will be good stewards of the money that they give.”

Any church that would like to participate can contact SCCM at (704) 982-7915 or email the organization at sccm2@ctc. net.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 21 or jason@stanlynewspress.com.

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