What’s a Mother To Do?

Cityteam Backpacks for KidsHave you noticed those Target Back To School commercials that air over and over again during the summer? This year they have a new campaign – buy one, get one 50% off. It’s a great deal but wouldn’t it have been even more compelling if they had said, “Buy one, and donate one” or “Buy one and we’ll donate one”.

As the new school year gets underway, parents and children know the anticipation and excitement that accompanies the first day of school: the simple joy of a new backpack, a new outfit, new shoes, and a clean notebook. It’s amazing how some children feel so excited to see their new items. It puts a certain smile of confidence on their faces. Yet for many parents and children across the U.S., these items are luxuries that they can’t afford. “Now, can you imagine what a child feels like without these new items?” Kids that don’t have the right supplies will usually feel hopeless and scared or discouraged to even go to school.

Low-income mothers in our communities have it really hard. These mothers struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. They also pray that their children won’t fall into drugs and alcohol.

So what is a mother to do?

I’ve seen some moms dig through garbage cans at night retrieving plastic containers and aluminum cans to take to the local recycler in order to get a little extra money for luxury items like school supplies. Yes, this really does happen. It’s got to be a humbling experience, but some moms know they have to do it or take another job at night and be away from her kids even more. Other moms skip a week of washing clothes at the local laundromat because it’s too expensive and saving that money could buy school supplies. Often these mothers can’t afford to drive a car with gas and insurance payments – so they usually walk or take the bus. Grocery shopping becomes harder because you can’t walk too far to get the best deals at the larger stores like Target.

These are the types of moms that Cityteam helps. We provide new backpacks and school supplies to thousands of children plus offer other services such as clothing, hair cuts, food boxes – all wrapped up in a fun day that provides them with dignity and respect. Many of the kids don’t know that generous people like you supplied the backpacks until they read the encouragement tag inside their backpacks. Some times donors send them in or volunteers write them. But a simple note that tells them that we believe in them and they can succeed this school year.

I hope this year when you walk down those shopping aisles at Target and you see those big sale signs – “50% off second item” – that you will think of Cityteam and the moms we help and the encouragement we give to thousands of kids in our community.   You can bring those donations right to our door at Cityteam. For those of you that don’t go to Target – You can donate online at www.cityteam.org and we will go shopping for you. You can also find our drop off locations on our website.

Help us this school year put a smile of confidence on a child and help a mom make it through another year. If you have questions about any of locations around the country – please don’t hesitate to send me an email at cpatterson@cityteam.org.

Hey @Target – let’s start a new movement – #buyonedonateone

#torikelly #kidsinneedfoundation #kidsbacktoschool






The Season of Giving

By now, we’ve all celebrated Thanksgiving, shopped till we dropped on Black Friday and have gone wild online during Cyber Monday. Now we land on the national day for giving called, #GivingTuesday.

Season of GivingThis rapidly growing movement, now in its 2nd year, promotes ALL forms of giving – time, talents, and generosity – small or large. Social media is an integral part of the movement to help share your personal experiences of “giving” to others and inspiring your friends and co-workers to get involved.

Here at Cityteam, we were blessed with a matching gift on GivingTuesday to help raise $20,000 in 24 hours. So let the twittering begin, and photos be posted because hundreds of people are on the move to give to Cityteam so we can double the amount of meals we serve to those in need.  Here is a simple video that carries the message of “Double the Gift & Double the Joy” and helping others through your generosity.

Cityteam also has a website called- Gifts That Matter – where you’ll find a list a special gifts that you can give in honor of a friend or loved one, while helping someone in need at the same time.  So if it’s not on Oprah’s Gift list, then you’ll find it on Cityteam’s list. We’ll even send a beautiful Christmas card to your friend or loved one if you select one of our gifts in their honor. Also you’ll find fun ways to shop and help Cityteam with the AmazonSmile website and the hottest new charitable website called Razoo. Their eGiving Cards allow your family and friends to make charitable donations to any of their favorite charities like Cityteam.

It’s going to be a wonderful season of giving.

Gratitude & Giving Back This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and this is the time of year many of us pause to think about everything that we have to be thankful for – our family’s health, a nice home, loved ones, and the ability to buy the things we need are just a few.

SJ_11.21.11_5D_197For many Americans this year, it will continue to be a solemn time because so many of them are still suffering from the loss of jobs, loss of homes, health issues and loneliness. Our prayers go out to these families and individuals that are quietly holding on each day. We hope they arrive at our Cityteam doorstep because we want the opportunity to love them, share a holiday meal with them or provide them with a big Thanksgiving food box that will feed their families for days. We also desire to pray with them and make them feel like a part of our Cityteam family. Serving people with dignity and grace is so important.

The most interesting part of all this is – Cityteam is only made up of 125 employees worldwide. There are not a lot of us, but we are very dedicated to serving people in need every day of the year. If you visit a particular Cityteam location – you might only see five employees or less. So how do we serve hundreds of thousands of people each year? It’s because volunteers show up every day to love and care for those in need. For some, it’s their first time volunteering and for others they are faithful volunteers that come every week or month. At this time of year, we at Cityteam are so grateful for all the volunteers that share their holidays with us.

If you want to give back this holiday season by volunteering, donating a turkey or hosting a food drive – Cityteam is the perfect place. It would mean so much to those we serve and we know your life will be changed too. You can volunteer by yourself, or bring your family or company with you. It’s as simple as visiting our website at www.cityteam.org/volunteer .

Come share your holidays with us.

When Help Meets Hope

The holidays are just around the corner and Thanksgiving is a really special time of year here at Cityteam. For many low-income families, the homeless or those suffering from addiction – it will be their first time they sit at our dinner table.  It will also be the first time for many of our volunteers who will serve dinner.  It’s a time when we all come together to care for one another and share the “hope” that true transformation is possible.

You might be asking – what do those moments look like? We developed a short holiday video to give you a glimpse of what it looks like – “When Help Meets Hope”.

See how you can get involved this holiday season – www.cityteam.org/volunteer and www.whenhelpmeetshope.org