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Cup of Grace Ministries

by BOB SHILLINGSTAD/Special to the Press
| December 12, 2020 1:00 AM

“In the way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” - Matthew 5:16

About 18 months ago we highlighted Cup of Grace ministries in a column that is in Spirit Lake and has grown dramatically in their outreach. What was fascinating about all of this was the story of Amy Privitt, the person who began this after moving to Sprit Lake in 2015 from Texas. Amy said, “I felt that I was called here to minister and be a witness.” She connected with others and started a simple dinner each week and it has had amazing growth since!

Amy and the director of the Family Assistance Program for Cup of Grace, Heather Polombo, brought us up to date on what has transpired. Amy and Heather, we receive your newsletter and we are blessed when we read about what is happening and all that your are doing. Here are some questions we have:

How many people are now involved in the ministry?

Cup of Grace has a large volunteer base. We have approximately forty volunteers that routinely volunteer with programs such as our community meal and clothing closets, and a larger network with a total of approximately 100 community members that we can call on to volunteer for special needs or events. That said, we welcome additional volunteers, as we find that everyone has something unique to offer and we believe that providing a platform for people to volunteer or give back to their communities is very important.

How are you able to partner with the schools in the Lakeland District? If schools were not open a somewhat normal five day a week schedule what do you think the effects would be?

The Lakeland School District has been wonderful to work with. We now provide a clothing closet within every school in the district as well as the Lakeland Headstart. Volunteers maintain the closet to ensure they have adequate inventory on hand. If schools were not open the traditional 5 day schedule, we are still be able to provide clothing to parents upon request through the school counselors. We have already adapted to changes and provide clothing to children who are homeschooled or who participate in distance-learning. Due to the pandemic, we have run into an issue with receiving donated clothing at the schools. We are looking for locations in the Rathdrum area to accept gently used donated clothing, as well as bins or structures to hold the clothing.

I read in your newsletter that you have giving trees in grocery stores with an ornament folks can take to bless a family. Tell us more.

The “Tree of Sharing” is actually through a charity called Visions. They are a great organization that has been doing the Tree of Sharing for decades and we hope that those in our community support them by selecting ornaments from the tree to provide gifts, as we do. We have a separate Christmas program as well, which is providing recipient families with a holiday meal box, gift cards to Walmart to purchase gifts for their children as well as a grocery store gift card.

This ministry started four years ago this coming January with nothing but a prompting from the Holy Spirit. What does this say to all of us, when led, can take on a need that see around them and by faith do what you have done?

I heard God ask me to feed people and I said “yes”. It was not easy and I had to pray about where and how to execute but God led me every step of the way. Almost four years later God still opens doors for us to feed people. When the Holy Spirit leads you to do something and you say yes, you will see amazing things happen. After we began feeding people, God opened the doors for us to go into the school and clothe the kids. Now we are in 12 schools and we have expanded by creating other programs such as the Summer Lunch Program, Buddy Bag and Family Assistance Program.

What needs to you have right now, a few months ago you needed a van for delivery and were given two! How can people help or give to your ministry?

We are currently expanding our Family Assistance Program as we have seen a significantly higher increase in families in need during the past few months. We are collecting diapers, hygiene supplies, food supplies as well as grocery or gas gift cards. Items can be dropped off at First Interstate Bank or the Spirit Lake Community Center (on Tuesdays). Donations can also be mailed to us at PO Box 744, Spirit Lake Id 83869.

We are also in need of a location for Cup of Grace to call home. We currently work out of several storage units and volunteers’ homes. We serve our meals at the Spirit Lake Community Center. Having a dedicated location for our storage, processing and service needs would allow us to operate even more efficiently and realize the dreams we have for our program. Further information about our organization and programs can be found at www.cupofgrace.life.