May 16, 2017

Grace Jackson may only be in the 9th grade, but she’s already making a big impact on Oklahoma City. The St. Luke’s Asbury member didn’t just volunteer to be part of a charitable effort… she started one.

“It’s definitely the right thing to do,” Grace said. “I mean, to take care of people.”

Three months ago, Grace was astonished at a harsh reality while volunteering at Skyline Urban Ministry, a United Methodist Church agency that offers food, clothing, eye exams, and other medical services to the poor. Needy families could only take one “household” item (shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.) because of low inventory.

“Items that can’t be purchased with food stamps,” Rev. Deborah Ingraham, the Skyline Executive Director, said. “And so these are items that are very difficult for our patrons to get. They’re expensive for us to buy.”

Grace felt “really bad and also very guilty” while volunteering.

“I had to tell people, ‘You have to put that stuff back’ because they could only take one. It just didn’t feel OK.”

She felt compelled to approach Rev. Connie Barnett, the Asbury Campus Pastor, about speaking to the congregation. Why not begin a toiletries donation campaign for Skyline?

“I could not have been more proud,” Rev. Barnett said. “She was able to see a need and make a plan and have it develop into this.”

“It’s definitely the right thing to do,” Grace said. “I mean, to take care of people.”

Grace stood up in front of the church and announced her idea. She was apparently convincing. Earlier this month, Grace and other Asbury Youth gathered several plastic bags full of church donations and headed over to Skyline for the delivery.

Rev. Ingraham was touched, but not surprised, by the effort of such young, caring people.

“If we give the youth a chance to see (people’s needs), they will react,” she said. “She heard the voice of Christ say, ‘What would you do for me?’ and she answered that call.”

“If everyone did something like this, I think that the world would be a better place,” Katie Buckendorff said.

“It felt good to do it,” Victoria Jackson, Grace’s cousin, added. “Hopefully they’ll be able to get more things than just one item from that whole selection.”

Standing next to empty shelves that would soon be filled with the Asbury donations, Rev. Ingraham jokingly told the youth, “I’d like you to T.P. us.”

“I guess I was really happy,” Grace said. “I didn’t expect it to be that big of a reaction because it’s what you’re supposed to do anyway.”