REDKEY, Ind. – The Rev. Randy Davis, pastor of the Redkey and Dunkirk Mt. Tabor United Methodist churches, actively distributed five-dollar McDonald’s gift cards with the Veterans’ Gift Card Project (VGCP) this past Advent and Christmas.
He exceeded his goal. By Dec. 17 he had received more than 11,300 gift cards and was already in the midst of delivering them with a prayer, a thank-you and a smile in Veteran Administration Medical Centers across the state. His goal was 10,000 cards, a project he began this past summer.
His first stop was Dec. 6, at the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, where he and three volunteers distributed 750 cards and presented the remaining 1,650 cards he brought with him to the center’s Director of Volunteer Services for distribution.
Assisting him in Indianapolis were volunteers Candace Muhlenkamp of Portland, and Pastor Gary Phillips of Pennville UMC and his wife Kathy of Albany.
About the experience, Davis said, “What we saw was encouraging and heartbreaking. What we heard was pain and appreciation.
Davis promised if the project reached a total of 10,750 cards by Dec. 17, he would hold a “Jammin For Jesus Sunday” in January. That means on a Sunday in January, everyone in his congregations will be invited to wear pajamas to worship. He exceeded his goal by 1,300 cards.
He and other VGCP volunteers were at the Marion VA Medical Center Dec. 20, and the Fort Wayne VA Medical Center Dec. 21. Each center received 2,000 cards.
Davis and the volunteers distributed the gift cards in the halls, clinics and in patients’ rooms selected by each medical center staff.
The project didn’t stop in December. He told Together, “Throughout 2013, The United Methodist Church is placing an emphasis on support of our returning troops. The Veterans’ Gift Card Project has been invited to participate. On Saturday, Jan. 19, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., we will have team members and volunteers at the Albany McDonald’s offering ‘Hamburgers For Heroes.’ During that time we will present the first 300 veterans in attendance with a five-dollar McDonald’s gift card.”
Davis said, it’s more than about food. He wrote, “$5 = 1 meal card = 1 veteran given a tangible thank you = 1 veteran having not just their tummy but their heart touched = 1 veteran receiving the unconditional love of Christ = 1 veteran whose life may be forever changed. And you thought it was just a Big Mac, fries and a drink. WE BELIEVE!
“If this works well, we may try the Portland McDonald’s later on.”
Davis is seeking “team members” (individuals, families, groups, bowling teams, clubs, organizations, Sunday school classes or other church and civic groups) to participate in the 2013 Veterans’ Gift Card Project. Team Members pledge to amass a minimum of 52 five-dollar McDonald’s gift cards (one five-dollar card a week for the year). For more information, contact Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Candace Muhlenkamp of Portland and Pastor Randy Davis of Redkey, thank and distribute McDonald’s gift card to a patient in the VA Medical Center in Indianpolis.
“What we saw was encouraging and heartbreaking…”
– Randy Davis