Lori Prahl believes there is no prejudice when God works through his people.
“Hope is seen, felt, and displayed through his people,” said Prahl, an organizer of Mission of Hope in New London.
Mission of Hope is a collaborative outreach helping many families in need from New London and the surrounding area. This year’s event is August 23 at the Bernegger River Walk in downtown New London.
“It’s a day set aside to intentionally meet the needs of our neighbors and celebrate volunteering,” explains Prahl. “More importantly, it’s a day to demonstrate love and offer a sense of hope for people who need a hand-up, and not a hand out,” she said.
Last year 722 families were served through a variety of offerings.
Thirty-five non-profit organizations provided a community service under a big exhibit tent.
Families, or as Prahl refers to them, “Guests of Honor” received services ranging from groceries to health screenings, to haircuts, makeovers and family portraits.
Over 400 pairs of shoes were distributed, 1,444 bags of groceries given away, 156 haircuts and 125 Mary Kay beauty makeovers provided. Two-hundred fifteen families went home with a family portrait.
“A lot of the hardships these families experience in life are situational. Someone may have recently lost their job, a family member, or some other circumstance they can’t control,” explained Prahl.
“We’re here to support them and give them a hand up,” she said.
Many of the Guests of Honor, those receiving services, also share their talents and volunteer at the event.
“There are many volunteer opportunities,” explained Prahl.
Volunteers can offer their time on the day of the event, donate goods, their talents or services, or make a financial contribution.
“One person, who happens to be a very talented juggler, offered their services in the kids activities area,” said Prahl. “We all have something to offer one another,” she added. “It’s about making an impact in someone’s life.”
“The Mission of Hope philosophy can be applied daily in our lives,” reports Prahl. “A minute can make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “Our community needs volunteers to give others a hand up all year long.”
Prahl recently received a copy of Carol McCloud’s book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.”
The book encourages positive behavior and teaches children a lesson of compassion and caring they can use in their everyday lives.
Prahl was so impressed by the simple yet powerful message of the book she shared it with her Little Sister through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.
Tayla Love, a sixth grader at New London Middle School is now helping Prahl raise awareness for the book, and they are trying to raise funds to purchase as many copies as possible.
“We hope to have some copies to distribute at the outreach,” said Prahl. “We’d like to distribute them year-round to different organizations,” she added. “It’s such a powerful message on making an impact in someone’s life, and we can do it every minute of our day.”
Prahl and Love sent an email to the author Carol McCloud and received a prompt response. They are hoping to buy a number of copies at a discounted rate.
You can learn more about the award winning book at www.bucketfiller101.com
Prahl’s Little Sister Tayla is also a volunteer at the Mission of Hope Outreach.
“Last year I helped in the kid’s zone,” said Love. “It was fun. I’m going to help again this year.”
Most of the 200 plus volunteers that help at the event, found it to be a powerful experience.
“We’ve heard from several individuals who came as guests last year, who want to come serve as volunteers this year,” reports Prahl.
Currently organizers and team leaders of the outreach are busy rallying volunteers for the Aug. 23 event. Volunteers and donors can register online at www.mission-of-hope.com.
Lori Prahl can be contacted at 920-359-0705.