Blessed to help others, and you can help too
‘We are blessed to be a blessing’ is the mantra Pahn-ya Ratteray and Janita Burke-Bean live by.
They’re part of Mission Possible, Restoration Fellowship’s community fair that hopes to raise funds for causes here and overseas on April 6.
“The fair is the brainchild of [Janita], our church’s missions head,” Ms Ratteray said. “Janita previously operated a children’s consignment event and was constantly being asked when the next one would be. Knowing that so many people had good things that could be utilised by others, it seemed fitting to host a large-scale event to benefit the community and those in need.”
The women are now looking to the public to donate spring and summer clothing, books, toys, shoes, household wares and accessories to sell at the fair. Proceeds will go to Warwick Preschool and His Majesty’s Happy Home, a school in Ghana.
“We decided to help both these schools after hearing they were in need of assistance,” Ms Ratteray said. “Warwick Preschool was damaged by an unexplained electrical fire last September, just days before they were set to reopen for the school year. Meanwhile, we had also learnt that the school in Ghana was in dire need of financial support to help families pay for uniforms, books and supplies.”
Ms Burke-Bean and Ms Ratteray are both long time volunteers with Restoration Fellowship’s missions ministry. Back in 2010 they teamed up on a clothing drive, raising approximately $10,000 for relief efforts for Haiti.
“In addition to that, we have also organised an internal church drive to raise funds so that a missions team, which one of our members was affiliated with in the Philippines, could purchase a car,” Ms Ratteray said. “On a separate occasion, we worked to raise funds in order to help His Majesty’s Happy Home purchase a much needed van and most recently we arranged a clothing, shoe and book drive [for them] which was supported by DHL and allowed us to send 2,500lbs of goods to Ghana.”
Any leftover items from the fair will be given to Pals, Bermuda Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Bermuda Hospitals Board to sell at their various thrift stores.
“We also know of organisations that are embarking on missions trips this year and we have reached out to them so that they may take some of the leftover items with them,” Ms Ratteray added.
Ms Burke-Bean believes everyone is called to use their gifts and talents to help others.
“This love I have for people and helping lends naturally to being a part of the missions ministry at Restoration Fellowship. I’ve used my gifts and talents to help local organisations like Women’s Resource Centre as well as the Centre legal clinic, and have taught English, dance, Bible studies and shared about Bermuda during missions trips in Ghana and Guyana in South America.
“While I always go overseas with the intention of helping and being a blessing, I believe that I personally get so much more from the experience. Seeing the smiles, change in countenance and the appreciation from people when you point them in the right direction concerning a legal issue is rewarding.
“Seeing shy and uncertain young people perform with confidence and joy at the end of your time there is equally as rewarding. In Ghana, the children and villagers I met had so little, yet they were still willing to share what they had. They also couldn’t understand why someone would come all the way from Bermuda to help them and that thought filled them with love and gratitude. Being able to be an extension of God in this way is such a blessing.”
Games, fun castles, face painting and food will be on offer at the fair. Ms Ratteray and Ms Burke-Bean promise that “each dollar spent will benefit deserving children and communities”.
• The Mission Possible Community Fun Fair will take place at Warwick Preschool on April 6 from 10am to 6pm. Donations are being accepted directly across from Heel Quik in the Washington Mall, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 12pm to 5.45pm. For more information: 599-7373, 505-7729 or email@example.com