Camp SPARK raises $2,300 for local flood victims

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Last week, First Baptist Church Cassville hosted Camp SPARK, averaging about 177 children per day. The children took up an offering for the flood victims, raising $2,300, which was presented to the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation by First Baptist Children’s Minister Jeanna Jones. Contributed photo

Fourth annual day camp makes a difference locally

The First Baptist Church of Cassville has hosted a day camp during the summer for four years, and each year, children are asked to raise funds to go to an organization in need.

This year, the children got to help on a more local level.

Jeff Allee, education and recreation ministry at First Baptist Church, said during Camp SPARK, there were 200 children registered and an average of 177 children attended each day.

“This is our fourth year hosting Camp SPARK,” he said. “Each year for camp, we have the children collect an offering to go to something.”

Allee said it just so happened that the flood in Cassville occured right before camp.

“Generally, the offering goes for a mission or ministry of some kind,” he said. “Last year, we collected for Operation Christmas Child, which the church is heavily involved with.”

Allee said the plan was to do that again this year, but the flood hit.

“After speaking with the church leadership, it was suggested that might be a possibility for the funds to go locally,” he said. “The children all agreed to that and they were excited about it.”

Allee said the funds were raised strictly by children bringing in an offering.

“The children bring in money, and we had some adults donate,” he said. “We challenged the children to a guys versus girls event.”

Allee said the children enjoyed that and whoever raised the most decided who got a pie in the face.

“Last year, we did the challenge based on grade, but this year did it a little different,” he said. “Between the two groups, the girls won, but it was only about a $200 difference.”

Allee said the money was given to OACAC.

“When we decided to go this route, that was the most logical place to donate the money,” he said. “We didn’t even talk to them beforehand. We just did it, then contacted them after it was done.”

Allee said for the children to help on such a local level was uniquely exciting for them.

“To get the opportunity to help their neighbors, and possibly even some of the children at camp who were directly affected, was amazing,” he said. “To get them involved and to step up is so positive.”

Allee said the church evaluates every year what the biggest need for the offering is, and makes a determination accordingly.

“We think it is important, and the Bible challenges us to give,” he said. “Every year, we will have an offering, and every year, it will go to something whether it is local, state, national or the world.”

Allee said the church bases its ministry on the Bible verse Acts 1:8 .

“The verse says we are to minister to Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth — Jerusalem being Cassville or Barry County for us, Judaea being the state, Samaria is North America and the uttermost is the world,” he said.

Allee said that is how the church approaches its ministry and offerings.

“Our ministry is based around that, and our job is to care for and minister to our Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the uttermost,” he sad. “And again, our Jerusalem is Cassville and Barry County.”

Gail Reed, Barry County Neighborhood Center director, said it was an absolute blessing when she got the call from the church.

“We are trying so hard to help people meet the needs they have,” she said. “Beds have been a big item, as far as things damaged in the flood.”

Reed said the center is trying to use the funds donated from the camp to help people with big needs.

“Beds are a big one, but we have a family whose refrigerator was flooded, and we are looking to buy them a used one to replace it,” she said. “We are still providing cleaning supplies for people who need them.”

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