"I don't know what I would have done this year without ELCM."
These are the words of more than 325 families living in east Lincoln County.
Without the aid of East Lincoln Christian Ministry's more than 750 volunteers offering more than 3,000 volunteer hours this month, stockings and Christmas trees would remain empty for a number of children. One notable volunteer, Laura Moore, vice president and CFO of ELCM, is helping her community in more ways than one.
Last Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Moore aided in handing more than 1,400 gifts, including dolls, games, clothing and other necessary items, to seniors in need and children of low income families requesting holiday assistance.
After clients underwent a brief interview to discuss what three special items they would like on their angel, their wishes were distributed to local area churches, businesses and civic organizations. Families were also given a voucher for both their angel gift pickup and a Christmas meal, provided by the ministry's Home Meals Program.
"This year we had more requests for angels than we could supply," Moore said. "In other words, more were willing to help than the requests that we received."
After retiring from the business world as an office manager, Moore first found a place within the ministry as a volunteer in the Closet Ministry's thrift store, where she helped sort, price and sell donations of furniture, clothing, appliances and other household items to area families in need.
Moore leads the way
"Over 70 percent of ministry income comes from closet sales," says Moore, who was initially attracted to the ministry because of its high volume of volunteer staff and the manner in which everyone worked together for the good of others.
Moore worked her way up to food pantry coordinator. In this position, she worked with the Crisis Ministry each month to distribute shopping carts of grocery items to more than 200 families.
Second Harvest Food Bank and local grocery stores, along with food drives from area schools, churches and businesses supply all food items including canned foods, meat, eggs and pastries. The Crisis Ministry also provides clients with financial assistance for rent, utilities and medicine throughout the year.
"All have been very generous in their giving this year," Moore said. "We have many now that are unemployed who have never needed assistance before."
As the ministry's current vice president, Moore dedicates a large portion of her time to assisting numerous operations including the order and distribution of all food items for holiday meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
In addition, she prepares financial reports for board meetings. She says her only regret is not having enough time in one day to accomplish all that she desires.
With three daughters and seven grandchildren of her own, Moore recognizes the importance of caring for those around her. She knows she can't do everything, but that doesn't stop her from doing what she can.
"Little is much when God is in it," she says.
Moore says she's blessed to be a part of the ministry and witness what a helping hand can mean in the life of someone who is unemployed. She also enjoys giving hope to people and being part of the solution that alleviates the worry and financial burden on countless families.
"What a difference it makes when someone cares enough to help," she said.
Founded in 1983, the East Lincoln Christian Ministry is located in Denver and runs solely on volunteers and donations.