10 area churches deliver the goods to Alpha Christian Children’s Home
by Ken Locke
Alpha Christian Children’s Home, Perry, was the recipient of over 5,550 items—primarily canned goods—from 10 Jefferson County churches March 25. The drive also raises funds to help pay other expenses of the home, which came to $6,855.59 this year.
This is the fifth year for the project and the number of churches increased by two.
Participating in the drive were the Crossroads Cowboy Church of Williamstown, Meriden Community Church, Buck Creek Country Church, Living Water Evangelical Free Church of Oskaloosa, Valley Falls Christian Church, Perry Christian Church, Nortonville Pleasant Grove Christian Church, Perry United Methodist Church, McLouth United Methodist Church and Church of the Nazarene in McLouth.
The Alpha Home has been operating since 1972. With the homes being in a rural setting, the children have many activities available to them, including fishing, hiking, nature study, biking, swimming, equine lessons and other animal programs plus 4-H activities. The children have been raising goats and rabbits for their 4-H projects.
With the addition of a second home opened June 1, 2014, they have the capacity to help 14 to 18 children, depending on their needs. Until then they had been limited to 10 children with only the one home. Presently they are home to 16 children.
They are currently rebuilding a staff house that was damaged by lightning a year and a half ago. They hope to have it completed by this fall.
The original fundraiser was in 2013, carried out by the Meriden Community Church Sunday school class taught by Ron Ellis. They gave themselves two months to raise $1,000, but raised $2,500 through various projects including a chili feed.
Ellis said the next year they invited other churches in Jefferson County to join in. Between 2,400 and 2,500 items were collected the first year and 3,749 items were collected last year.
Jeff Mulpas, Alpha’s director of development, said that they were able to feed the children for most of a year on what was collected. Despite duties as a newly elected member of the Kansas Legislature, Ellis continues to head up the fundraiser.
Mulpas told about one of the churches contributing to the fund that was among those the first year Ellis expanded to other churches. One of their high school students had been particularly enthusiastic about the fundraiser the first year they participated. When he died in an auto accident that summer, they decided to continue raising funds for Alpha in his memory every year since then.
The children at Alpha presently range from 3 to 18 years of age. They are provided a Christian home life and educated up through high school. Children helped by Alpha include children who have been abused, neglected, orphaned, troubled or poor, and children from dysfunctional families and those being raised by grandparents who are no longer able to provide for them.
Mulpa stated “We give the kids a safe place to live with a family.”
Kids usually stay 18 months to three years, however, some stay longer as needed.
Children that stay through high school are also helped to find jobs or further their education. A current example is a girl graduating this year has been able to find summer employment at Yellowstone National Park, and then is planning to continue her schooling at the College of the Ozarks in the fall.
“This college only admits about 350 students each fall of the 4,000 applications it receives, so this is a huge accomplishment and blessing for her!” Mulpas said.
Jeff’s wife, Devin, is a former resident of Alpha Christian Children’s Home. She and her two brothers grew up in the home. She and Jeff met while they were attending Ozark Christian College.
Alpha is 100 percent privately funded and is non-profit, so this fundraiser has been important to their continuing to serve the community.
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