Made New

Hope Anniversary-175

“If I didn’t stop doing what I was doing, I was going to die.”

A man who has lost everything and everyone he held dear while battling heroin addiction. A woman who fought to break free from prostitution, but who is climbing, slowly out of poverty while raising three little ones.  A young man, just out of his teens, whose upbringing had left him certain he would die young out on the streets. They gather together after dinner at Cityteam’s Hope Cafe as part of a group of ten people who were ready to share how their lives are changing.

“A few months ago, I was on the streets, into gangs, and living in darkness. Now I’ve found a home.”

Hope Anniversary-156All of the beautiful stories we hear have one thing in common–each person had made their way to Cityteam in search of help. Some needed a place to sleep, others sought a way out of addiction and some were simply looking for a warm meal. They came in search of relief, which is offered freely at this place, with no strings attached. But, while visiting, they hear the stories of a God who restores, who makes all things new. For these 10, that restoration has become real over the past few months and years. And this is the day that these few will give testimony of what He’s doing and of the promise to come for their lives.

“I tried to live a life without God, and it didn’t work.”

These ten are not the first of us to experience this kind of goodness. The stories we read from when Jesus walked the earth tell of his love for humanity in all its brokenness. He came to give us freedom from the guilt of what we have done to oursHope Anniversary-188elves and to others. He came to heal and restore that which is damaged and destroyed. He has offered us the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. And he died, that we might be spared. And so he calls us, to believe that this hope might be real, and to follow him. These ten have, and they are here to show us that following Jesus is something beautiful.

“I had been shooting heroin for a long time. I know that Jesus can save me, and I’m all in.”

Hope Anniversary-144So on this night we read from the Bible that Jesus is calling us to not just experience His grace and love for ourselves. He wants us to give it away by telling our stories and through being baptized. And so they do. They bravely face a crowd of friends and strangers and share some of the darkest parts of their pasts. Then they dip down into the water to surrender and bury what is old and to rise into what is new.  It is one of the most powerful evenings we’ve experienced at Cityteam Chester. Real people experiencing real change.  We can only pray that God will continue to use this place to bring His hope to people for years to come. And if we are so lucky, we’ll keep telling the stories of what He has done.

Thank you for supporting this place. Your prayers and generosity change lives.

—Kwinn

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

Kwinn

Kwinn Tucker, City Director

*Special thanks to Stephanie Oberti for the beautiful photos.

“Not Without Your Coat!”

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Kwinn Tucker, City Director

My son is four, and he’s just the funniest little fellow. He’s all “kid”—all he wants to do is play. And rain or shine, he wants to play outside most of all. Last year we started teaching him how to zip up his coat. Now, it’s getting cold again, and it feels like he’s relearning from scratch. His little fingers get all tangled up and he gets frustrated, until he gets it, and he’ll glow with pride and charge right outside. With his coat, he doesn’t care how cold it is out there.

Having him in my life has changed the way I look at the world. I’ve always thought a kid in a big puffy jacket is the cutest thing, but now when I see children in their coats I think about their stories—whether they struggled to get the zipper up, and how long and hard they begged to play outside. And of course I think about their parents and how all any of us wants is to teach and protect our kids. “This is how you do the zipper.  You’ve gotta bundle up if you’re going outside.”

At Cityteam we have all kinds of wonderful opportunities to help families in our community. Every fall we are blessed with the chance to give new coats to hundreds of children in need. Each child gets just the right size, in their favorite color. They turn to look at a mom or dad who’s as happy as can be to see their own little puffy-coated kid beaming. It’s powerful because it’s so simple, a basic but essential need that we can fill for those who can’t. It’s a gift that gets used every day for months and months.  And all our kids can be running around, heading to school, doing kid stuff…and staying warm.

Special thanks to Drive Away the Cold,  Auto Dealers CARing for Kids, David Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Miller’s Dodge and Operation Warm for partnering together with Cityteam this year to give hundreds of kids brand new winter coats.



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Backpack Day

IMG_2689Backpack day at Cityteam is a big day for a lot of people. Dozens of volunteers from all around work together. Hundreds of families come together to celebrate the start of another school year. And over two thousand children take home new backpacks filled up with school supplies. The best way to tell the story is to hear it from the people who’ve been there.

Volunteers make this event possible…

“I’d heard about City Team for years. When I finally came down to “Back to School” Day in 2012, so many things fell into place for me. This is the work I’d been hearing God tell me to get involved with for so long. This is the help that the community needs—practical needs like backpacks and school supplies being met, a critical stone in the foundation of education that these kids need. This is the place where I can make a difference, mere minutes from my house.”

Parents  anticipate a safe and fun carnival for their kids…

“My kids love the party and I love spending time with my kids. We can’t afford to go anywhere special and this gives the kids something to talk about when they go back to school and not feel left out”

“This means so much because my kids know that there is someone from the community that cares about them and their education.”

Anna Donahoe organizes this event every year…

(100)“I love thinking about what this might mean to the children receiving brand new backpacks filled with brand new supplies. As a parent, I love the feeling of sending my own children off to school with their clean, new backpack. I am so grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to watch so many other children and families have the same experience through Cityteam’s Back to School program.

The highlight of the day for me is the sense of community that is present on this day. We have good food, carnival games and we all come together as a community and do something positive for children. God is definitely present at Cityteam’s Back to School Event and I am sure that he is smiling.”


And the kids’ 
thank you notes probably say it best…

 

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Watch here to see these sweet little ones talk about their new backpacks:

Cityteam Chester About Us

PH_04.13.11_009Located in the heart of Chester, Pennsylvania, Cityteam Chester serves those in desperate need throughout the Greater Delaware Valley. Dedicated, caring staff and volunteers reach out to those who are in need of a hot meal, safe shelter, and decent clothing. Cityteam Chester also offers recovery programs for individuals seeking to transform their lives from the destruction of drugs and alcohol.

We also connect with low-income families whom are in need of emergency food boxes to help stretch their income at the end of the month. Mothers with infants and young at-risk children, stop by every Wednesday afternoon to receive diapers, formula, and other baby items. You can make a difference by volunteering, donating or financially supporting this special ministry to the poor and homeless.

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