St. Giles is grateful for the faithful work of our mission partner, Thornwell Home for Children. In addition to our annual Thornwell Sunday in January and housing office space for Thornwell’s Building Families program, Dr. Mike Payne and Mrs. Tea Madden (members of St. Giles) serve on Thornwell’s board of directors. Included below is Mike’s report from the March 2017 board meeting. Read on to learn more about the ministries of Thornwell and how we might support them in Service to the World.
The most recent Thornwell Board of Trustees meeting was held March 9-10, 2017. While I was unable to attend this time, I did receive a copy of the committee reports and agenda, and can provide a brief summary.
The Facilities and Property Committee reported that the renovations of Sara Jo Cottage have been completed. The kitchen area has been enlarged and improved, and several walls removed to provide an open area for the kitchen, dining area, and living rooms. Bathrooms were updated and improved, and hardwood floors were sanded and refinished. Planning is also underway for repaving the campus roads and a tree survey is being done to remove several campus trees.
Lush Acres Farm continues to grow and improve. Clemson University has provided valuable consultant expertise in many areas. Expansion is underway to order and process 100 free range poultry broilers per month. The number of layers has increased to 176 birds, providing 5.2 dozen eggs per day. From October to December, 2016, and average of 32.5 dozen eggs per week were sold to the Swamp Rabbit Café, along with 35 turkeys, resulting in a total income of $4,851 for the fourth quarter. The farm now employs two part time workers and four Thornwell students in addition to the full time farm manager, Gretchen Huggins. It should also be noted that Thornwell students entered a float in the 2016 Clinton Christmas parade using only materials found on the farm!
Lush Acres Farm has recently become a member of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and is certified for the USDA's Good Agriculture Practices and Beef Quality Assurance Programs. It also has a SC Greenhouse License.
The residential program now has 67 children living on campus. The number of private placements has increased recently, while the number of DSS children under the age of 6 is decreasing.
The Building Families Program has continued to expand. At the end of 2016, twelve congregations and communities were being served by 17 staff members throughout SC, Ga, and Fla. A total of 1,215 children and family members were served in 2016, reflecting a 300% growth since 2015.
The Foster Care Program now has their staff in place, and is leasing office space in Greenville. Recruitment of foster families is currently underway with interest meetings being held monthly at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenville, and Heritage Fellowship in Laurens. Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a foster family can contact me, Tea Madden, or Thornwell directly.
I will not review the financial data in detail here, but thanks to thousands of donors like us, 2016 proved to be a very successful year. And I am pleased to report that 82.2% of the total budget was spent on programs and services, an excellent benchmark. Through our continued support, Thornwell will continue to serve the troubled and needy in our Synod for many years to come. Thanks be to God!