No Containing the Container Goal



Gifts-in-Kind (GIK) is a volunteer-run ministry that collects high-value goods and materials for Willow’s global church partners around the world. Last year, seven 40-foot containers transported more than 42 tons of items specifically requested by local partners. This year, the goal was to match last year’s achievement. And incredibly, this goal is just days from being met. As of the end of June 2013, seven containers will have been filled and ready for delivery to Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador.

The most recently packed container contains Montessori school supplies, 150 student chairs, computer tables, file cabinets, medical supplies, two pianos, 10 wheelchairs, 15 walkers, and a whole host of sports equipment, including basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, cleats, and uniforms. Twenty-five percent of this container contains brand new supplies. But none of these items are random. Rather, they are all items requested by Willow’s church partners as part of their ministry vision.

The Key to GIK
Willow member and volunteer Frank Davis explains how GIK works. “The local partner is the change-maker who knows what is needed in the areas of medicine, education, and the church. They are the ones with the vision for growth and development.” Davis says, “the key to this is not about the stuff, it’s about having a relationship with the partner first.” Then God directs everything else into place.

Miraculous Supply of Supplies
An example of things falling into place is this year’s Celebration of Hope lobby experience, where GIK had a booth. A husband and wife stopped by to ask questions about the GIK ministry. It turns out that the couple owns a leading manufacturing company of school and office furniture. In addition to offering brand new equipment, this company donated a large amount of supplies from three schools in Oak Park. Amazingly, they are all supplies that Willow’s partners have requested. It’s no accident. “That’s just how it works,” Davis says. “I have story after story of unbelievable connections, where a container is filled with exactly the right supplies at exactly the right time.”

Frank says the common sentiment of all volunteers is that they are pleased and honored to be a part of a GIK container. Volunteers looking to help pack containers or provide supplies may email for more information. Needed materials include (new or gently used) personal computer/laptops, backpacks, school supplies, gym equipment, sound equipment, medical supplies, commercial kitchens, and agricultural/construction tools.

Category : Global Connections

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