Radical Giving - From food pantry to Fur Babies: Serve City's heartfelt acts of giving

Radical Giving - From food pantry to Fur Babies: Serve City's heartfelt acts of giving

By Katie Simpson

In 2012 a global movement called Giving Tuesday was birthed. The goal: to encourage radical generosity around the world…especially during the Holiday Season. Serve City here in Hamilton exemplifies that call to action in everything they do…year-round. 

Since 2001 they’ve been living out loud what Giving Tuesday is all about. Now, in 2023, they’re still serving their community with love, the utmost respect, and a type of radical generosity that will leave you both humbled and inspired. 

In the time I spent at Serve City touring the facilities, meeting staff, and seeing first-hand the mission they’ve been on for over two decades, to say I was blown away would be an understatement. Their generosity is not only radical, but it’s personal. They genuinely get to know the people they’re helping. They understand that everyone has a story, everyone’s needs are different, and a one size fits all approach just doesn’t work when real change is the goal.

Last year alone Serve City had approximately 320 people come through their Residential Shelter. While staying there they receive 3 meals a day, small snacks, shower facilities, the means to do laundry, access to counselors, and a multifaceted level of support that shows just how much Serve City cares about their residents. The approach they take to not only serving, but healing, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 320 individuals may have come into the shelter last year, but 53 are now in permanent housing. They’re off the streets and living independently. That, is what radical generosity does! 

Additionally, Serve City has their food pantry. For those who find themselves in a tough season of life, it’s more than a blessing…it’s a lifeline. The day of my visit, people were wrapped around the building waiting to get into the pantry. It broke my heart to see so many, of all ages, in such need. Our seniors for example, who have given so much to the community, shouldn’t be worrying about where their next meal will come from. Children, the most innocent and vulnerable in our community, shouldn’t be going to bed on empty stomachs and waking up to hunger pains. This year alone there’s been a 47% increase in need at the pantry. The need is great, but Serve City is doing their absolute best to hold true to the missions they’ve have since 2001: To offer God’s abundant life to their most vulnerable neighbors through a ministry of help and hope. 

At Serve City they truly strive to meet every need within the community. Such as Elsa’s Cupboard. A space within the Food Pantry building where they provide dog and cat food. So often animals are being abandoned or rehomed simply because feeding them is no longer financially possible. This service has no doubt been a blessing to those who sincerely love and care for their furriest of family members. 

Then there’s Sophie’s Baby Pantry. A service that provides assistance to expectant mothers. Sophie’s Baby Pantry was started in honor of a former tenant at Serve City. Sophie was a beautiful young woman who was loving and who spread warmth to everyone around her. During Sophie’s time as a resident, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Sadly though, shortly after her birth she passed away. The emotional toll this took on Sophie was more than she could bear and she tragically took her own life. The baby pantry in her name is a tribute to Sophie and the love she had for her sweet baby girl. I found it so gut wrenchingly poetic that when donations such as diapers, wipes and formula are brought in, they’re placed in the crib that was meant to be used for Sophie’s baby girl. In addition to the baby pantry, Serve City has partnered with the Butler County Educational Service Center to help with more long-term assistance. Radical giving frankly knows no bounds at Serve City.

Here's the thing about radical giving though and trying to make real change…it’s not free. It takes time and money. Both of which are often hard to come by. So, this Holiday Season, as you’re buying for family and friends, I’d like to encourage you to buy into what Giving Tuesday is all about. Giving Radically and finding others suffering as intolerable as we would find our own. But don’t stop with the Holiday Season. Make it a lifestyle of giving. Give of your time…because they can always use volunteers. Give of your talents…because they have so much that needs done but few funds and hands to do it with. If you’d rather donate food or money, I promise you, it’s needed! Give because it could very well be you or a family member in need one day. Give because so many of the people that Serve City helps, have been a part of our city for years. Some of which have been the very hands and feet that kept our incredible city going when it wasn’t as shiny as it is now. And finally, give because you’ll never regret it. Your small act of kindness could very well be the reason someone’s life changes for the good, forever.

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