ABHMS, partners unite to aid N.Y. community affected by layoffs

As Helen Keller famously said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” That truth is epitomized in American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) recent relief effort in partnership with Lowville (N.Y.) Baptist Church, American Baptist Churches of New York State (ABCNYS), American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). To aid the Lowville community after the unexpected shuttering of one of its largest employers̶̶̶−Climax Manufacturing Co.−ABHMS’ Disaster-relief Ministries has distributed a $5,000 emergency grant from ABCUSA’s OGHS funds to ABCNYS. The region, in turn, forwarded the funds to the church, which is coordinating American Baptist efforts.

According to news reports, Climax announced its closure in a notice to the state labor department on April 1—the same day that approximately 160 employees were told of their layoffs, which were to be effective immediately. Reportedly, employees were also to lose their benefits.

Because so many Lowville residents relied on the box company’s pay and benefits, the OGHS grant is earmarked for residents’ groceries, gasoline for trips to the grocery store and job interviews, and medication for those with cardiac conditions and diabetes.

“We tell and share with everyone about our amazing American Baptist Churches family and the One Great Hour of Sharing grant that is making this possible,” says Lowville Baptist Church Pastor James Pearson, who has been meeting with other pastors, businesses and other organizations to arrange for matching donations. Other fundraising efforts include a trip give-away by a local radio station and a school district spaghetti dinner.

OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering received by churches.

Donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing—Lowville, N.Y.” can be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.