FLINT TWP. — Giving MERV a facelift is the goal of a scrapbooking fundraiser, sponsored by Little Lamb’s Closet of the West Flint Church of the Nazarene on Dye Road.
MERV, short for “Mobile, Everything, Response, Vehicle,” is a used 26-foot recreational vehicle purchased last summer to create a way for the Little Lamb’s Closet to take its charitable services on the road.
For more than 10 years, local families with children who find themselves in need of many of life’s basics, such as clothes, shoes, diapers, safe bedding and more, have found assistance within the walls of the Little Lamb’s Closet. Opened to the public in the summer of 2005, it started with a simple 9 x15-foot room within the West Flint Church of the Nazarene. Soon it was apparent that the need in the community was growing and so did Little Lamb’s.
On Sept. 11, 2012. the closet moved 100 yards across the church parking lot into its own building, giving it the space needed to process the many donations it receives to provide for the 1,000 plus families that enter every year.
“Not every family that needs our help has transportation and we are not near a bus route” said Dawn Ramirez, executive director of Little Lamb’s Compassionate Ministries. “ (Before MERV) we would plan two or three events where we could take our inventory or special items out into the community to distribute, but those events took a lot of preparation and tons of extra hands and we were at the mercy of the weather. It just wasn’t very efficient and we knew we could do better.”
A plan was created and funds raised to buy MERV. The RV was gutted and carpenters have been working on the interior to duplicate the Closet on wheels.
“A wise man once told me, sometimes half the battle is simply showing up and that is what we will be able to do with MERV,” Ramirez said.
“How amazing will it be as this unit comes down a neighborhood street to deliver diapers with their bottled water or we set up in the parking lot of a church or school where folks can take a bus to or walk to, that is already distributing food,” she said. “What it will mean when we arrive on site, after being requested by first responders, when a family is standing in the street left with nothing after a house/ apartment fire. All we gotta do is be ready and willing to show up.”
Partnerships with other community and church groups are already being forged as MERV’s interior is being fitted with extra lights, heat and air conditioning, painting and carpet installation.
The final hurdle is making the outside as inviting as the inside.
“Jason Chapin at Purifeyed Graphics has created an amazing design and has given us a very compassionate rate,” Ramirez said. “He is working with photographer Josh Kennedy who recently completed a photo shoot (no charge) of local children from families who have been served by Little Lamb’s as well as our volunteer’s kids and grandkids. The photos of these children will be incorporated into the graphics of the exterior of the vehicle. The fundraiser this month could put us over the top so Jason can start the wrap process and in a few weeks we could be ready to roll.”
“Crop 4 The Little Lamb” a scrapbooking event, will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. The day includes 12 hours of scrapbooking with a continental breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and beverages throughout the day.
The cost per participant is $30 if registered by Friday, April 15 and $35 thereafter. The space for each registration includes 4 feet of table with a power strip & free Wi-Fi.
There will be vendors on site, goodie bags and drawings for prizes which includes the grand prize of a fully paid scrapbooking weekend at the Creative Passions Crop & Quilt retreat in Chesaning.
Register online at www.westflintnazarene.org/events/ crop4llc
Bring a case of water and receive five tickets for prize drawings Bring a package of diapers and receive five tickets for prize drawings
Those who don’t scrapbook can still help raise funds for MERV.
“There have been those who don’t have an appreciation for the art of scrapbooking and have donated so that they wouldn’t have to attend, and that is just fine,” Ramirez said.
All proceeds will go toward the renovation of the Little Lamb’s Closet’s Mobile Response Vehicle.