Meet The Crawfords: Tom, Carrie, Scott, and Paul, or Paul, Carrie, Tom and Scott if you are following along in the photo. The Crawfords have been fixtures at the Otterbein United Methodist Church collection in Hagerstown since 2005. We've actually watched the boys grow and mature into quite the bike mechanics. Their willingness to lend and hand has really turned into a commitment to service which they learned and nurtured at their years at Otterbein UM.
Carrie said they really enjoy working on the bike project because they have been overseas and saw first hand the change a bicycle can have on a family. Their mission trips to Guatemala rank the highest of all the service projects they work on, many year after year. The Guatemala service trip this year had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
In fact much of the summer had to be cancelled or postponed because of coronavirus, including our collection at the church. Collection Manager Cindy Brown cautiously rescheduled from April to August and said a prayer. No one knew if we'd be able to hold the event or need to cancel again. The congregation had been worshiping on Facebook and Zoom all spring eventually transforming the parking lot for drive-in worship. Cindy always referred to the service projects at Otterbein as a form of parking lot ministry...now the figurative becomes literal.
Moving forward with a collection that typically draws dozens of donors and volunteers, Cindy put a lot of thought and effort into this year's event. In order to keep everyone safe, operating under the ongoing pandemic, she planned on less volunteers, more space, and the same old spirit. We still ended up collecting 200 bikes which came at a critical time as we are ramping up our shipments overseas. Having experienced volunteers like the Crawfords on hand for the event made the collection run smoothly despite being short on help.
With the 2020 collection, Otterbein UM has now donated over 4,000 bikes to our program since 2005. And counting back, maybe the guys haven't always been part of this collection after all. This is our 16th year with Otterbein UM, and Paul is in 8th grade and Scott 10th. We asked them what school has been like and we got mixed reviews. Both boys are taking online classes. Tom and Carrie also work in education so everyone has been busy learning this new method of teaching/learning. Paul is excited for another semester on the computer, which has been better for him to concentrate and learn. Scott, on the other hand gave us a bit of an eye roll. He definitely misses the social aspect of school. Who knows maybe they will end up back in class sooner than anticipated.
The family did manage to eek out a cross country vacation this summer, although it was cut short due to continued outbreaks of Covid. Some of the regions where they were traveling were becoming hot spots and others were closed entirely. So they focused on what they could see and were thankful for the time away. We were thankful they came home in time for the collection!