Cedarville athletes are joining the 11 other schools in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference to bring toiletries to the homeless. The GMAC has worked with the different student athletic advisory committees from each school to find their ministry focus for this year and, hopefully, the years beyond.
Joy Dice, a women’s tennis player at Cedarville, serves as treasurer of Cedarville’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and vice president of the Cedarville GMAC committee.
“We want to be a very service-oriented conference,” Dice said.
The ministry is simple for athletes. For Athletes Collecting Toiletries in Service (ACTS), athletes collect toiletries that are given to them at the hotels they stay at during their away games and bring the toiletries back to give to their school. From there the school takes it to the Nashville Rescue Mission. Dice said it can be hard for athletes to get involved in ministries, especially while they are in season.
“They need something that they can tie into what they are doing,” Dice said.
The Nashville Rescue Mission works to provide food, clothing and shelter to the hungry, homeless and hurting in the community. Linn Bogle, the ministry’s director of development, said the ministry’s goal is to “restore hope in their lives and help transform lives into becoming productive citizens.”
Bogle said on any given night, Nashville can have up to 4,000 homeless people on the streets. The Nashville Rescue Mission can hold up to 900 in its shelter every night. On nights when the weather is extreme, the shelter reaches full capacity and sometimes even over their limit. The shelter provides homeless people with food, clothing and hot showers.
That’s where ACTS comes in.
“What they’re doing is very significant, especially because you cannot reuse toiletry items,” Bogle said.
The ministry not only gives people necessities, but it also tries to help them establish a relationship with God. Bogle said the staff does this by teaching the Bible and having a chapel service every night.
Jared Gerber, president of Cedarville’s SAAC, said the Nashville Rescue Mission often runs low on funds for toiletries. At these times, the ministry has to tell people to just wash with hot water.
“They were very excited about the opportunity this (the ministry) has to help them out with the work they are doing there,” Gerber said.
In May, members of the GMAC will personally deliver all of the toiletries collected throughout the school year to Nashville. The athletes will be able to visit the Nashville Rescue Mission and see first-hand the ministry they are supporting.
“It may not seem like a lot,” Gerber said, “but when you have 11 or 12 different schools collecting toiletries, it’s pretty cool.”