Letty Sargant has been a major supporter of Association House for 20 years.  As an elder for Friendship Presbyterian Church, who itself has partnered with us for many decades, she has stewarded giving initiatives for our local impact, including volunteering with the afterschool programming in the early 2000s; in-kind giving toward our food pantry; and, of course, annual toy drive support.  Through Friendship’s annual toy drive efforts, church members have adopted over 700 children over the last 2 decades with Letty’s leadership. Here’s a bit about Letty and Friendship Presbyterian Church’s giving in her own words.

What was the genesis of Association House’s relationship with Friendship Presbyterian Church?

Letty Sargant: “The question came up ‘Should we develop some kind of relationship with an organization that links with our mission?’. Through conversation, we figured out how extensive our relationship was with Association House, with AHC being a part of the Presbytery since the turn of the 20th century. The Presbytery network had supported the mission of AHC’s settlement model back 100 years ago.  “So, why don’t we look back at Association House?’.

“We set up a couple of meetings and learned about the mission work of Association House.  ‘And I think some of the first things we did – and I don’t know where the gifts came from – were wrapping gifts for kids.  And we went over to the North Ave location, and there were wrapping paper and tape and gifts, and so we helped there.’  And while we were there, we saw after-school and weekend programming for kids; and so, some of our members played basketball with the kids and those receiving services from Association House.  That’s how we got started.”

Do you find volunteering meaningful? And, if so, why is it – through Friendship Presbyterian Church as an Elder there – to support Association House meaningful to you?

“For me, I guess I’ve always wanted to do volunteer work.  I’ve been very blessed in where I came from and where I am now with the financial resources that I have, I just feel I need to give resources back.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction; it gives me joy.  To give back.”

Does the congregation – its members and community – find the relationship that we have as meaningful?

“It is the season of giving and members of our congregation like to give!  Earlier, some of our members would go on-site to volunteer.  I think as our relationship evolved, the ways that volunteered became more defined.  I still feel like members enjoy contributing in the way they do, and that it helps so may children are important to them; to us.  And we’ll continue to support as long as we exist.”

What does the process look like for how Friendship Presbyterian Church gets involved with the adopt-a-child program of the Holiday Toy Drive?

“I think it’s a mixture.  The one thing I have to say, though, that since some of our members are older, some will just have to ask, ‘Well what is this?’.  So, then they Google it, and when they do learn about new things and fads and how the newer generations like to play. I was at church and announced it early in November.  That following Sunday, within less than an hour all [25 kids] were adopted.  Members are very interested in the gender of the child, and the age, both.  They get very excited and then really involved in the gift-giving.  For instance, for some people, they have children who are boys, and so then they’ll select boys because they feel they know what boys would like; and it gets their children involved too.”