Community Fair 2021
“We are always blessed when we serve at the Grace Care Center”
It’s More Than Just a Haircut!
Brooke Longest never envisioned that the simple act of cutting hair during the July 31 Grace Care Center Community Fair could be so profound. The annual fair provides dignity and hope by offering a variety of free services and products to prepare children and parents for the upcoming school year. With the lingering pandemic, this year’s event was especially impactful.
Through the generosity of hundreds of donors to the GCC Foundation, the Grace Care Center distributed brand new and well-supplied backpacks along with brand new pairs of shoes at the community fair. In addition, families were introduced to many local social service agencies, provided fresh haircuts, new bicycles and tune-ups for bicycles, health screenings and physicals, car washes, lunch, a free shopping day at the Choice Food Pantry, gift cards to the Grace Thrift Store for back-to-school clothes, and fun games.
As with every service at the Grace Care Center, the community fair is designed to impact volunteers just as much as the friends who benefit from the services provided. Longest definitely found that to be true.
Longest laughed when she said her only qualification for cutting hair was cutting her husband’s and children’s hair for years. But the simple act of cutting hair turned more profound when one family came to her hair cutting station. Longest knew the dad from seeing him for several years at the Grace Care Center Food Pantry. She said, “He’s not the easiest fella to talk with.” His typical response to Brooke when she greeted him was less than cordial. But she saw a different side of the family as she cut his childrens’ hair. As each child got their hair cut, they were helping each other, offering suggestions of what would look best and demonstrating kindness and compassion. When they left, Longest realized that now she knew the faces behind the groceries the dad shopped for each week. She is really looking forward to the next time she can greet him at the Food Pantry.
Another family came to the haircutting station and this was their first exposure to the Grace Care Center. When Longest was finished with the daughter’s hair, she jumped off the chair and exclaimed, “That was fun!” This family has come to the Food Pantry each week since then and every time Longest sees the daughter, they talk about how school has been that week and their relationship deepens.
Longest said, “We are always blessed when we serve at the Grace Care Center, but the community fair was special, and we were really blessed that day!”
2021 Men’s Life Golf Outing
“What is your unique contribution”
The Best “Yes!”
“I wrestled with a “voice” I could only explain as the Holy Spirit nudging me to say yes and help lead a small gathering. At first, I told myself there’s no way I can balance this in the middle of my busy season at work and balancing a family with two kids under the age of two,” said Thano Genos. Yet, Genos took that hard step of saying yes and provided pivotal leadership for the Grace Church Men’s Life Golf outing, benefiting the Grace Care Center. Throughout the process, Genos was following God’s call and paying it forward.
The GCC Foundation and Grace Care Center had discussed a summer-time fundraising event but needed volunteer leadership. Enter Genos, a young dad, former Marine, and new realtor.
When asked about the initial idea of a golf outing, Genos said, “As the spring session of Men’s Life at Grace Church was winding down, our leaders had asked us to think about how we could put together a summer event for the group. Golf was one of the options mentioned to bring the men together.”
“After praying and then truly listening to what God was telling me, I said yes. I felt compelled to say yes because I remember the day four years ago when my uncle, Paul Clemens, and now Father-In-Law, Scott Wilson, asked me to go to the Men of Grace BBQ. It was that day that I reconnected with the Church after walking away 14 years earlier. I hoped to be able to recreate that same day for someone else, in the hopes that one person, man or woman, would find their way back to their faith, to the Church, to their relationship with God. While I don’t know yet if there is any story of this kind of thing happening, I’ll be doing my part over the years to come in hopes of hearing a similar story.”
In the process of planning the inaugural golf outing, Genos set a goal of raising $10,000 for the Care Center Mobile Pantry. Amazingly, after all the expenses were paid, the golf outing raised $12,200! On a hot Indiana August afternoon, 29 teams participated. Genos has big goals for the golf outing in 2022, building on the success of the first year.
Reflecting on the whole experience, Genos said, “My mission, the way I want to contribute is by focusing outward, outside of the church.”
As you evaluate how you spend your time, what is your unique point of contribution to your church or your favorite charity? Often, the hardest step is the first step, the initial “yes.”