To Whom it May Concern:

Over the past few years, our congregation has developed a strong relationship with our neighborhood and it's elementary school, Holland Elementary. Although this relationship began some time ago, the implementation of a Book Festival in May 2007 spurred increased interest and involvement from our church membership. Congregational support of our neighborhood school now includes funding the kindergarten milk fund, teacher/staff back to school luncheon, a neighborhood Fall Festival, clothing and underwear drives, reading buddies, Trunk or Treat, and our second annual Book Festival which was held in May 2008.

We are thankful for the guidance we received from Sandy Cunningham during the initial planning stages of our first Book Festival. Her passion for the children of our community was contagious, and we worked to implement the type of outreach event that had been successful in many other schools. Her ecumenical approach, strong vision for this type of ministry, and her ability to step back and allow us to lead our event was particularly notable!

From a personal perspective, as someone who is actively involved in public education in our community, the partnerships our schools have with the organizations, business, and faith-based groups are invaluable resources. Children face an increasing number of challenges from societal pressures. Having affirming adults reach out to them in practical, fun, and exciting ways helps them to understand the love of God through the actions of others. Community Love for Kids exemplifies this very approach to outreach! We have seen first hand that involvement in the lives of children does make a difference!

I would encourage any group or congregation to work with Sandy Cunningham and Community Love for Kids as you search for ways to impact the lives of the children around you.

Sincerely yours,

Kris Callen
Ministries Coordinator
Messiah Lutheran Church
925 E. Seminole St.
Springfield, MO 65807

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