ABWM of West Virginia aids Christian Center via White Cross
Clothing, school supplies, postage stamps, camping supplies, hygiene kits, office supplies, sheets, pillows and towels. These items are just a few of those that American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) of West Virginia have been supplying over the years to Weirton (W.Va.) Christian Center through American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) White Cross ministry.
An American Baptist ministry since 1917, the center is a partner of ABHMS’ Community Outreach Ministries. The center offers free preschool classes with a Bible-based, hands-on curriculum. The 3- to 5-year-olds learn scriptures and enjoy free lunch daily. The center not only offers a free safe-haven after-school program that serves at-risk students in kindergarten through middle school but also a leadership program for high school students.
Center partners provide free piano, guitar and ukulele lessons as well as special educational programs on healthy food choices, fitness, drug abuse, violence prevention, safety, self-reliance and responsibility. If that’s not enough, the center also offers daily devotions, Bible study and scripture memory contests to encourage relationships with the Lord.
On a daily basis, the staff provides homework help, tutoring and computer access to Lexia Core Reading and iXL for science, math and social studies. The Quarters for Grades program provides incentive for good grades and attendance. Students receive dinner and a snack daily as well as “Blessing Bags” of food to take home over long school and center breaks. During the summer, offerings are a reading-focused program and church camp.
Kim Weaver, the center’s executive director, notes that donations have come from ABWM groups across the state. Many groups recently donated books for the center’s library.
“Each year,” she says, “we have a group of ladies who make quilts for our children and others who make and send hats, scarves and gloves.”
The value of White Cross items received in 2019 was $14,636, according to Weaver.
“Since we have no billable services, and our grants are all very specific to particular programming or requests, we have to focus on taking care of payroll and operational expenses,” she says. “If it were not for all the supplies and gift cards that the ladies provide us with, it would be a huge expense for us. Our ministry would not be the same without being able to provide our children and families with their donations.”
Weaver has nothing but high praise for the women who contribute via White Cross.
“I have never seen a more powerful group of ladies,” she stresses. “They have a mission, and it’s always accomplished. I have seen small groups of older women do some powerful things. Their hearts for the Lord—along with wisdom and experience—are invaluable.”
ABHMS has phased out its White Cross ministry, but continues to serve the underserved in neighborhood Christian centers, children’s homes and mission schools around the United States and Puerto Rico through the new “Operation Planting Hope.”
Weaver offers this suggestion to the women who have been the hands and feet of Christ via White Cross: “I would encourage you to not give up on getting younger women involved, even if it [the ministry] looks a little different than you’ve done it in the past. They need your mentoring and the opportunity to serve others,” she continues. “Your circles and groups are way too valuable to let go of.”