Summer of Caring helps Sumter United Ministries make lasting change in lives


The Sumter Item is continuing to ask its readers to donate to its Summer of Caring fundraiser, which benefits Sumter Untied Ministries.

The faith-based nonprofit provides emergency and life-rebuilding services, from food, clothing and shelter to medical and education assistance and home repair. This annual fundraiser helps funnel money to the nonprofit so it can fix HVAC systems, repair roofs and offer other help to Sumter individuals, seniors and families who become eligible through an interview process.

Each week, this update provides a look into the types of situations the ministry helps via Summer of Caring. This week's update was written by Daphney Addison Scarborough, director of the ministry's shelter.

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"If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime." Chinese Proverb

The passage in the Bible that is commonly thought to say "teach a man to fish" is found in Matthew 4:19. Here, Jesus is walking near the shore of the Sea of Galilee when he sees two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing out their fishing nets. He says to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (NASB) In the next verse, Simon, also known as Peter, and Andrew drop their nets and follow Jesus.

In today's climate, it is easy to get so caught up in the pleasure that giving brings to the giver. However, what happens when giving does more harm than good? In a time when everything is being handed out, when will we be like Christ and teach others how to fish rather than giving the fish away? Working in a Christian ministry like Sumter United Ministries, I am blessed to see many givers every day, but there's so much more. So now I ask, are you giving all that you can?

There's more to giving than just giving gifts, be it finances or services. It's very easy to get to the point where we feel the pain of our giving. Pain can come in the form of frustration, ungratefulness, overcompensating or even debt. With that said, let's look at ways to give that will make us more of an effective solution to the issue of homelessness. Are you able to do employment coaching? Can you help with resume building? Do you have a friend who's hiring for a job that will offer a solution to sustainable living? What about you? Are you in a position to hire someone? Have you just stopped in the midst of your giving, looked at your audience and simply held a conversation with them?

Let's take our guest Daisy, for instance. Daisy is a single mom of six. Daisy is currently being housed at one of our community hotels. She is a licensed cosmetologist and a certified paralegal. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she is unable to procure proper childcare for her children so that she can acquire gainful employment that will lead to acquiring independent living in a stable home for herself and her children. It is very easy for someone to feed Daisy and her family for a night or for someone to donate clothing for her children. However, sponsoring a child for a day camp or daycare, assisting with updating her resume or even offering her a listing for affordable properties in our city would be a much more effective means of assistance.

There are many individuals in our community that we run into every day suffering from the same misfortune as Daisy. All it takes is a moment to stop and assess the situation from eyes that look to enhance the lives of others rather than eyes that simply seek to give to someone who is less fortunate. These are just a few ways we can examine our giving and do a little more to go the extra mile. Don't stop what you've started; just reach a little further. Building relationships and evolving partnerships is what life's all about. We are so much better together. Thank you so much for all you do, and we at Sumter United Ministries Shelter Ministry look forward to growing with you.

New donations as of July 20: Charlie Pitts, in honor of Melanie Hancock, $25; and Diane Loesch, in memory of Suzanne Johnson, $100.