Tender Hearts, Caring Hands, and Financial Hope

Tender Hearts Caring Hands (THCH), formerly known as Church and Communities Ministries, was formed to provide financial assistance to those in need. The name was inspired by Olive Baptist Pastor Ted Traylor’s message on The Good Samaritan — teaching Christians to have tender hearts to recognize the needs of others, helping hands to actively serve others, and open wallets to be willing to provide for those who need help. It is one of the 5 programs of Ministry Village at Olive.

People come to THCH needing food or help paying utility bills, rent or a mortgage. Family food bags are provided from the Tender Hearts food pantry and are designed to feed a family of four for 4 days. In 2018, Tender Hearts provided assistance to more than 2,000 families, an average of 40 families each week.

Many people who come to THCH have fallen on hard times through divorce, abandonment, or job loss. Most want to make a change, they just don’t know where or how to start. That’s where the THCH Budget Class can help.

Individuals and families who apply for assistance can receive groceries and financial assistance to purchase gas for transportation, or pay utilities or rent, but recipients must first attend a financial training class. Classes are held each Wednesday evening in the Health and Hope Clinic building on the Ministry Village campus.

Martha Cobb King, Ministry Village at Olive’s Finance Administrator and Interim Executive Director, created the Tender Hearts financial course. She says the intent of the class is based on the philosophy that Jesus used – when you teach a man to fish, he can then feed and provide for himself. “We want the attendees to leave the class with a more Christ-centered approach to their finances,” says Martha. “We prepare them to become better stewards of their money, less materialistic, and to better understand that the world causes us to be discontent with what we have.”

The budget class leaders are Olive Baptist Church members who teach on a rotating basis — Angela Russo, Wayne Forbush, Gene Myatt, Ron Riles, Jeremy Hans and Martha Cobb King. The group includes a CPA, an MBA, a retired military officer, a civil service engineer, a real estate investor / Naval Reserve helicopter pilot instructor, and a retired Defense Finance and Accounting Services employee. Several of the teachers are also actively involved with Financial Peace University at Olive Baptist Church.

Participants learn 10 Biblical Financial Principles and are led through creating a personalized spending plan or budget. They learn steps to budgeting, useful strategies to help increase their income, and tips to decrease their expenses. Attendees hear real-life examples of people who have been able to use the same monetary tools and strategies to make their financial lives more secure and more stable so they can change the path they are taking.

In addition to strategies focused on income and expenses, the advisors help participants understand the monetary goals they should strive toward, while providing specific information on how to rebuild credit and handle identity theft if they have been a victim.

Those in attendance receive tools and guidance they can use to feel a sense of control over their finances again, when the experience of losing control has left them feeling vulnerable and anxious. After attending the 1.5 hour class, their financial situation hasn’t miraculously changed – but the sense of relief, the feeling of hope, and the knowledge that they have gained in those hours holds tremendous value. As Martha says, “The hope is that the skills taught, along with our encouragement, inspires those who attend to make the necessary changes that will lead to a more stable financial future. And when we hear from past participants who have succeeded in doing that, it encourages all of us for the next class.”

After attending the 1.5 hour class, their financial situation hasn’t miraculously changed – but the sense of relief, the feeling of hope, and the knowledge that they have gained in those hours holds tremendous value.

🍎 If you are a trained Financial Advisor, CPA, etc. and would like to learn how you could be involved in teaching a THCH class, contact Kathie Schuster at (850) 475-1118.

🤲 We have an immediate need for volunteers in the Tender Hearts Caring Hands ministry. Volunteers may serve by transporting donated food items from area businesses, organizing the food pantry, or answering phones and assessing callers for financial assistance opportunities. If you would like to be of service to others in our community through Tender Hearts Caring Hands, please call 850-475-1118 or click here.

🍽 Donations of non-perishable food and travel-size hygiene items are accepted at the Ministry Village office at 1716 E. Olive Road, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 2 pm. Specific food items that are always in demand include canned beans, canned meats including tuna and spam, peanut butter, 1 pound bags of rice, grits and spaghetti noodles, canned vegetables and crackers. Financial donations are also accepted and appreciated.

💙 To learn more about Tender Hearts Caring Hands, part of Ministry Village at Olive, click here.

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