Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

Acts 435 has just granted its 5,000th request. This is exciting news – we do not celebrate the fact 5,000 people in the UK came to us in great need but we do rejoice that we could make an impact 5,000 times and know that over £460,000 has gone directly to the people who need it.

Take our 5,000th request for example. A lady in Suffolk who was unable to get her mobility scooter insured unless she had a place to store it which could be locked. £120 was raised for her to purchase a lockable shed. These are the kind of requests I particularly like – something a bit different, where funding from elsewhere could be difficult to find, where a small gift makes a big difference.

You see I am in a rather unique position. As the only employee of Acts 435, having been with the charity right from the beginning, I have seen every request posted, every donation made, every thank you email sent, and every success story uploaded to our website.

That is a lot of data to pass before my eyes!

When I scan through our live requests, I am deeply moved by the kind of circumstances that I read about there – health issues which can plunge a family very quickly into debt, those fleeing domestic violence only to face poverty, people unfairly sanctioned, the list goes on.

Sometimes there is a lull in donations and I start to get nervous. Ye of little faith! Then suddenly another surge of generous givers – the faithful who give almost every month (in spite of the fact we are not signing them up to a direct debit or standing order), and new donors who seem to appear from nowhere, or heard about us years ago and suddenly decide to give.

Of course the most wonderful thing is to read the thank you emails that church/charity advocates (the Acts 435 representative who meets with the person in need and posts their request) can send to the donors who gave to that specific request. There I read of lives changed, of the impact a small gift can make, the self-esteem being able to go into a shop and buy clothes can give, the life-saving help with arrears to prevent eviction or an all-important bond to get someone off the streets.

It is humbling to hear from beneficiaries blessed through Acts 435 but equally from donors who let me know how touched they are by these emails. I shouldn’t be surprised, after all, we know “it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

I only wish we could help more people. I am receiving an increasing number of emails from people in serious need – just in the past month I have received pleas for help from Falkirk, East London, Newcastle and Cornwall where we do not yet have participating churches. Therefore I have to say we cannot help them as I have nowhere local to refer them to.

I hope that our next 5,000 requests encompass an ever-widening network of Acts 435 churches and charities so that we can get closer to our vision of giving to anyone in need, wherever they may be in the UK.