A church in Ohio recently raised approximately $10,000 as part of an annual charity drive in order to help its neighbors pay their water bills.
Several families in Pickerington called their water company and learned to their surprise that their water would not be shut off this month because of the charitable efforts of Grace Fellowship Church. Beth Shively, spokeswoman for Grace Fellowship, told The Christian Post that the payments for water bills of those in the neighborhood were part of her church's annual "Giving It Back" campaign.
"Through this campaign, we choose a few organizations or needs and ask our church to generously respond to these needs during December," said Shively. "The mayor of Pickerington, Lee Gray, attends our church, and he brought to our attention that each month many families are scheduled to have their water turned off for non-payment. Our elder board decided this would be an excellent way for us to give back to our neighbors."
A suburb of Columbus, Pickerington is a place that while considered above average on socioeconomic rankings, nevertheless has homeowners and renters alike living there. Gavin Blair, Pickerington City Council President, told CP that the city is "a diverse community" for which the churches including Grace Fellowship play an important role.
"I consider our churches a pillar of our community in Pickerington," said Blair, who briefly detailed some of the City's anti-poverty efforts. "When I heard Grace wanted to give back to help people cover bills during the winter months I was thrilled. This is an example of how much our faith community cares."
While Pickerington City oversees a food pantry and oversees some payment plans with taxes for some citizens, Blair told CP that the faith community was an important component to anti-poverty efforts. "The faith community is the driver of this in our community and I think that is great. We have multiple churches with tons of different denominations, and they care for the entire community, not just their congregation," said Blair.
In an interview with local media, recipients like the McDormans spoke with surprise over Grace Fellowship, a church they did not attend, paying their water bill.
"You hear about all the bad things, it's good this is happening, because there are a lot of good people out there," said Sandra McDorman to WBNS-TV channel 10.
"Grace Fellowship wants to be a church that generously gives to the community," said Shively of Grace Fellowship to CP. "We want to be the kind of church that the community would notice if we ever left town. We do these things not to recruit new people to our church, but just to let the community know that we love them and God loves them."
Headed by Pastor Keith Minier, Grace Fellowship Church presently meets on Sundays at Pickerington High School Central until construction on their newest church building is completed.