Chapin Camp of Gideons International donates hundreds of Bibles to We Care for Christmas baskets
Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – Thursday afternoon, three members representing the Chapin Camp of Gideons International delivered approximately 600 bibles to We Care of Chapin to be included in baskets that will be donated to clients in the area who are struggling this Christmas. These clients are being assisted by the 150 volunteers and small staff of We Care. We Care is the area’s food pantry that supplies not just food, but other basic needs to those who for many reasons are having trouble getting by. In 2018, We Care has assisted approximately 1,000 clients each month and is on track to donate about $1 million dollars in food to those in need in the area.
There were two editions of the bible that were donated by the Gideons Thursday. Approximately 200 were pocket sized New Testaments and another 400 were full sized bibles that contained both the Old and New Testaments. These bibles will go out with some 400 baskets that We Care volunteers are assembling this season. They will include essential items for a family to enjoy what most of us consider a “normal” Christmas. There will also be four or five toys or other things that are intended specifically for the children that are in these homes. Each of the gift baskets has been provided by families, individuals, or groups that adopted the recipients this year.
Jim Luther, a Gideon who has held almost every position in the local organization and is approaching the age of 90, said that much of the money for the bible come from the members of each camp themselves. Each year, the group has multiple dinners where they get together, pray and fellowship, and do training on serving the community by spreading the message of Jesus Christ. In other instances, the camp members will speak to churches who then take up love offerings that are used for the Gideons’ mission. Some churches also include the Gideons in their monthly missions’ budget. The Gideons’ mission is simple and has been since the organization was founded in 1908. They believe that a simple act like giving someone a bible may introduce them to the love of the Son of God. “We hope to spread the word of Christ and the message of eternal salvation to as many people as we can,” Mark Watson, the treasurer of the Chapin Camp said. “Something as simple as someone picking up a bible and reading a few words from it may introduce them to Jesus’ saving grace and the knowledge that they can live together with him in heaven through the gift of eternal life that was bought and paid for by His blood.” James Boland, another member of the local camp, was also in attendance during the donation Thursday and helped deliver the eight cases of Bibles to We Care’s Chapin Road office and warehouse.
The Chapin Camp of the Gideons has approximately 20 members on their rolls. Of that 20, approximately a dozen are considered active members who regularly attend their weekly Saturday morning bible study and prayer sessions. The camp also holds regular Faith Fund dinners where money is raised and sent to the national office to be used to place bibles all over the world.
The Chapin Camp is an offshoot of the Irmo Camp. Once a large enough group of the Irmo members found they lived closer to the Chapin area, they formed their own camp. In the recent past, the Chapin Camp has given away approximately 1,200 New Testament Bibles at events like the Chapin Labor Day Parade and the parade that’s held during the Little Mountain Reunion annually.
Gideons are best known for their work leaving Bibles in motel rooms. This all started with two men who wanted to evangelize and spread the message contained in the bible. In 1908, their formative organization, an association of Christian businessmen, began placing the Bibles in hotel rooms. Since that time, the organization has evolved into an expanding mission to provide Scriptures to all people in nearly every facet of life. Today, they have taken more than 2 billion Scriptures in more than 95 languages to 200 countries, territories, and possessions across the globe. To do this, they print and bind the bibles in house to make them less expensive. This allows them to give more away. Of money donated by churches and groups to the Gideons, none of that goes to their administration. Those expenses are covered by each member’s annual fees so that donations can be used to make and distribute more bibles.
The three men Thursday were quick to credit Terry Burnett with the idea of donating the bibles this year through We Care. Alecia Klauk, the director of We Care said Thursday, “We make bibles available all the time, but never on a scale like this.” Most are old used bibles donated by someone after a family member has passed away or ones found that are not being used.
Klauk said that Chapin is perceived as an affluent area where everyone has no problem with basic essentials like food. “We are no different here than anywhere else. Although most have no problem getting by, there’s still a large community of people and families that can’t even buy essential items like toilet paper or a nutritious meal.” She went on to say that We Care often receives notes and cards from their clients thanking them for helping the client through the hard times with their dignity intact.
To learn more about the Chapin Camp of the Gideons International, call Mark Watson at (615) 403-5804. To learn more or offer your help to We Care in Chapin, call them at (803) 345-3244.
(Left to Right) James Boland & Jim Luther of the Chapin Gideons and Alecia Klauk of We Care