In mid-December, Richard and Reida Bartley, founders of Village Grace Mission Center in Cleveland, Ohio, were recognized by Cleveland City Council for their work with the Treasure Box Christmas Gift program over the past 20 years. The program has generated more than one million dollars in necessity items and school supplies to children in the Slavic Village area of Cleveland. Anthony Brancatelli, Cleveland City Council member, was on hand to present a resolution to the couple. The proceedings were filmed by Grace Brethren pastor and church planter, Ron Boehm, who shared it on his Facebook page. The video is posted here with his permission.
The Treasure Box Christmas Gift program is rooted in the Western Reserve Grace Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Macedonia, Ohio (Jason Haymaker, pastor), which was then pastored by Boehm. A portion of the resolution appears below the video.
Whereas, this Council is extremely pleased to recognize Reverend Richard and Reida Barley of Village Grace Mission Center for their outstanding dedication and commitment to the “Treasure Box” Christmas Gift program for over the last 20 years; and
Whereas, in 1993, while attending Western Reserve Grace Brethren Church, Reverend Richard and Reida Bartley became involved with the Christmas Gift Program which was started for about 34 children in Cleveland Heights. After learning that the program organizer had relocated and that the program was going to end, Reverend Richard and Reida asked if they could continue the program. With a blessing from the pastor, the program changed its name to the “Treasure Box” Christmas Gift Program; and
Whereas, during their first year with the Treasure Box Christmas Gift Program, the Bartley’s collected 24 shoeboxes which were filled with small toys, scarves, gloves and school supplies, and then wrapped them and delivered them to needy children in the inner-city of Cleveland. Thereafter, this very special program continued to grow and during Christmas 2008, they delivered 1,685 treasure boxes and in 2010, they delivered 2,200. Today, twenty years later, the Treasure Box Christmas Gift Program has generated over one million dollars in necessity items and school supplies through area churches and schools in Cleveland’s Slavic Village area; and
Whereas, in addition to their dedication to the “Treasure Box” program, the Village Grace Mission Center offer individual and family counseling, financial counseling, computer training, after-school tutoring and mentoring, and many other support services to the Slavic Village community, and
Whereas, Village Grace Mission Center has a team of devoted individuals, churches, businesses, civic organizations and schools working together to support families that are struggling with life’s daily problems. The belief of the Village Grace Mission Center is that all people are individuals with ambitions, capabilities, and creative outlets and are capable of continued growth and development, and have the right to maximum opportunity for involvement in the community, the neighborhood, and in life. Without the dedication and commitment of Village Grace’s ministries and all the volunteers of the Village Grace Mission Center, these families would not have such great opportunities and are to be commended for their exceptional devotion and loyalty to helping those less fortunate; now, and therefore,
Be it resolved, that Cleveland City Council proudly acknowledges the faithfulness that Reverend Richard and Reida Bartley have demonstrated with sharing the joy of Christmas and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the needy children in the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland. This Council further applauds the Village Grace Mission Center’s outstanding efforts in fostering solutions for children, youth, and families in need throughout the Greater Cleveland communities, and further extends best wishes to everyone involved for much continued success in the future.