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Features : Editorial Last Updated: Dec 12, 2012 - 10:10:47 AM

Angels at Christmas
By Jack Little
Dec 12, 2012 - 10:04:43 AM

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Jack Little
Executive Director, East Cooper Community Outreach
Last Saturday the classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life made its seasonal appearance. I especially like Clarence, the angel who is trying to earn his wings. He is nobody fancy but he diligently follows his Heavenly Father’s plan to help George Bailey understand his purpose. We have all heard the movie’s famous phrase, “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”
There are many thoughts about angels. The Bible speaks of “angels unaware.” James Russell Lowell said “All God’s angels come to us disguised.” We don’t recognize angels by their appearance. We recognize them through the message they bring. Angels can be ordinary people who deliver the message of truth and hope through actions, words and deeds.
Angels have always delivered heavenly messages and served as protectors. “Angel” is derived from the Hebrew word for "one going, one sent or divine messenger.” In the Old Testament, Jacob wrestled with an angel. The message of truth was to bring him to a closer relationship with God so he would begin the nation of Israel. In the book of Luke, an angel brought the message of glad tidings, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Angels have been, and continue to be, God’s intermediaries of delivering His messages to man.
We know that angels continue to walk this Earth because we see them every day at ECCO. These many angels sustain our mission and through them we see the message of compassion and hope being delivered. These folks serve diligently with the sole motive of serving. No personal gain, no personal benefit, just a pure resolute force of spirit that changes lives for hundreds of families.
Last month, Mark Hammond, Secretary of the State of South Carolina, awarded its Angel Award for 2012 to ECCO. This annual award is given to ten non-profits across the state that has low costs for their overhead. ECCO does not boast about the services we provide to the working poor or that 93% of every dollar given (including donated goods and services) goes to the services for our clients. We faithfully go about serving the needs of others. This award is largely due to the angels that serve every day at ECCO.
Rachel Vane, our Director of Volunteer Engagement, says,” Our volunteers are angels. Their servant hearts and humble attitudes reflect of mercy and grace every day. They often go the extra mile to meet the special needs of our clients.”
Recently a grandmother who had unexpectedly gained custody of her two small grandchildren needed clothing. Our volunteers provided a personal touch as they helped her pick out matching clothing for each child. The grandmother left with the satisfaction of being served while our volunteers were fulfilled from serving someone else.
Vane goes on to say, “There are all kinds of angels throughout our community like the 5 year-old girl who wanted canned food for ECCO rather than birthday presents for herself.”  Another is a Wando High School senior who volunteers in the food warehouse. He said, “First it was because I needed Volunteer hours for school, now it’s because I like helping people.” A local dentist who volunteers in the dental clinic said, “You know I came here to give back, and it never fails that I get so much more than I give.”
Angels are, truly, very special. These heartwarming stories show the spirit of the holidays which we strive to keep all year long. Our volunteer Angels work without a concern for self but with a spirit of giving and sharing. Everyday, at ECCO and in our grand community, “the bells are ringing and angels are getting their wings!”
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