Are you still playing with your Christmas gifts? Have you forgotten what you got for Christmas already?
Last time we introduced you to Jennifer our Tree of Hope Coordinator.
This week I would like to introduce you to another one of our wonderful beautiful heart Kassandra VanDyke. She is Lead Assistant for Tree of Hope. Here is what she has to say.
How did you get started volunteering at HOTH?
Through out grade school I attended Salvation Army and helped them with their Christmas ministry. Then on days I didn’t have school, I would help in their food pantry, filling food boxes for the families that came in. Even at a young age, it was something that I really enjoyed. It was 5 years ago that I saw an announcement in the church bulletin about Tree of Hope, which reminded me of how much I loved and missed serving at the Salvation Army so I decided to go to the first meeting they had that year and ever since then, it’s something that I look forward to every year.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
There is so much that I enjoy about volunteering with Tree of Hope. I love meeting all of the new people and building relationships with both the volunteers and the applicants. But even more than that, I love seeing the hope that Tree of Hope brings to people every year. Sometimes it’s our own volunteers that see the love of Christ working through the ministry. Other times, it’s an applicant who was feeling so down on their luck, “so hopeless” they say sometimes, that we are able to reach out and show the love of Christ and that there is hope. It’s those moments that make all the late nights serving totally worth it.
What ideas, hopes, & visions do you have for Tree of Hope?
Tree of Hope 2014 was a year of change for us. There were a few things that we did differently than we have in the years past and although it was a learning curve, I definitely think it was the best year so far. I hope this next year we will be able to improve the things we’ve changed and be able to impact more families for the love of Christ.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at HOTH?
I’m a wife and a momma so life always seems busy. We have two little ones, Bryce who will be 4 in March and Zoey who will be 2 in May. I’m blessed to be able to stay home with the kids while my husband works and runs the farm. I really enjoy volunteering in my son’s preschool class and try to do that at least every other week.
What is something people may be surprise to learn about you?
I am actually a very shy person who usually has a very hard time meeting/talking to new people. However, when serving with Tree of Hope I feel such a peace over me and I love meeting new people and having a chance to hear their story.
How can we support Tree of Hope?
To some people Tree of Hope is just a “seasonal” ministry. Meaning, we are only fully hands on for a few quick months a year. Unfortunately because of that, I feel like Tree of Hope can quickly go by without being noticed by so many people. Not everyone gets and/or read the Sunday bulletins so they don’t know that Tree of Hope is going on.
I was attending C.O.T.H for about 5 years before I even knew there was a Tree of Hope ministry. Every year we have people who walk by the Tree in the foyer and have no idea what it is for. If we could find a way to make people more aware of Tree of Hope and the ministry as a whole, I think we would be able to reach more volunteers and applicants every year.