Just in time for the holiday season, five different non-profit organizations across the Santa Clarita Valley are receiving $5,000 each from Grace Baptist Church as part of the congregation’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Outreach Pastor Mike Gaston considered it the perfect expression of what the church represents and the perfect way to celebrate.
“We had a several-month-long commemoration of our 50th year,” he said. “And rather than just throw a big party and pat ourselves on the back for being here for 50 years, we thought we’d look out into our community and celebrate our presence here for 50 years by giving back... somehow.”
They were selected, because GBC believed that they represented a cross-section of our community.
Gaston said they have “mission statements that sort of parallel what we want to be about as a church. We want to be loving our neighbors and serving our neighbors, and we were looking for groups that did that and help make Santa Clarita a great place to live.”
The money was raised through a special offering during August and September called “Sell it or skip it.” Members of the congregation were asked to sell something they didn’t need or give up something that wasn’t essential, like coffee or the movies. They could then designate the money they saved for the special fund.
They raised nearly $25,000, and rounded it out with money from the church’s general fund.
“The organizations knew in advance that we were doing it, but they didn’t know the amount. We didn’t give them a target,” Gaston said. “I told them four or five months ago that you will be receiving some of this special offering, so in case they heard about it, they wouldn’t be surprised… I called the directors and told them they’d been selected, but it’s been nice to go around and surprise them with the amount.”
The money will help each non-profit with their own specific needs. Gaston mentioned that Action Parent-Teen Support Group will use it to cover intake expenses for new clients. Connect2, which owns House of Hope orphanage in Haiti, hopes the money will cover the expenses of an American couple planning to move to Haiti and run the orphanage.
“The response has been wonderful,” Gaston said. “…For me to be able to represent the generosity of some people here that I love and be able to bring that generosity into the community, it’s amazing. I love it.”
For more information about Grace Baptist Church, click here  or call (661) 296-8737.