Did you know Central operates a separate 501c3 nonprofit known as CCSI (Central Community Services, Inc.)? It has been my privilege and pleasure to direct this organization since 2007. It has grown from zero into a $40,000 annual budget that supports after-school programs for children and youth in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, provides camp scholarships to church and community youth, sponsors The Sheridan Story weekend food program for students at Hamline Elementary, and allows neighborhood families to shop with dignity in our Christmas Central Toy Shop every December.
My favorite part about being involved in ministries that impact our immediate neighborhood is the relationships I can have with children, families, schools, volunteers, and even partner organizations. This is as hands on as it gets. My week often includes driving the van to pick up kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays, shopping for snacks, showing up at Hamline Elementary to distribute food packs – almost 60 per week now, having conversations with school administrators, interacting with college students doing service learning hours in our programs, meeting parents at the curb at pickup time, or sitting for Super Supper with some of our teens on Wednesdays.
I hope you are thinking, “Wow. It sounds like she gets to have all the fun!” You are right! And that should not be. CCSI and its programs belong to Central Baptist Church – they belong to YOU. And there are many ways you can partner with us – let me give you some ideas:
Give to Central Baptist Church. That’s right! If you give to the general fund of CBC, you indirectly support CCSI. We have a small line in the budget, plus we are given classroom, office, and storage space, use of vans, kitchen, and lower gym, custodial services, water, lights, heat…you get the idea. If you give to Central, you give to CCSI.
Give to the Central Foundation. Every year, the Central Foundation provides CCSI with a grant of $5000. This grant is used as part of the matching gift made available every year on Give to the Max Day. We can leverage more funds because every dollar given is matched 100%. Give to the Max Day is our primary fundraiser and we are indebted to the Central Foundation each year for greasing the giving wheel.
Buy Scrip cards. Have you been wondering what Scrip is all about? On the second Sunday of every month, we take orders for gift cards that you purchase to use however you like. A small percentage of your purchase comes back to us. We earn approximately $1500 a year through Scrip and that is with only 7 or 8 regular customers every month. Just think what we could do if we doubled or tripled the number of regular customers! And while we’re at it, Christmas is just around the corner. You could do all you gift shopping at once by selecting gift cards from the hundreds of retailers available. Also, some folks do their regular shopping – groceries, gas, home improvements - by buying cards from us and using them as cash. Win, win! Here’s a link to their gift guide: https://www.shopwithscrip.com/GiftGuide. Also, we will have two order dates in December: Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 – place your order and pay on one of these dates, then pick up your cards the following Sunday! Order forms are available at the info desk.
Purchase toys, clothing, gift cards, or donate cash for Christmas Central. This is the best event of the year when we set up the gym with all new toys and clothing items and families come by appointment to shop for gifts they give to their own children. Bring new, unwrapped items to the church office any time between now and Dec. 14. Or, cash or checks enable us to buy specific items. You can write a check to CCSI or designate “CCSI – Christmas Central” where it says “Other” on your offering envelope.
Do your amazon.com shopping through smile.amazon.com and designate CCSI as your nonprofit of choice. That’s right! This simple step means every time you order from Amazon, we get a tiny bit back. It does not affect your account or Prime status in any way! Another win, win!
Provide a camp scholarship - $250, support one student with weekend food for the school year - $140, provide snacks for one week - $25, become a monthly donor, designate us on your employer match program, you decide!
Volunteer! Be Santa’s helper at Christmas Central on Dec. 15 or 16, become a tutor, drive a van, serve on our Board, help distribute meal packs at Hamline Elementary, read to a child, keep our classroom neat and organized…
Spread the word. Do you know a family in St. Paul that could benefit from a great after-school option for their children? Let them know about us! Flyers are in the brochure rack by the info desk. We have room for more!
CCSI exists to provide quality programs that improve the lives of youth and their families who live or go to school in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. This is what a community of faithful presence should look like! Thanks for your faithfulness in investing yourself in God’s kingdom work at Central!