Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FBC Member Belynda Montgomery
        and her daughters         

Belynda Montgomery Clothes Kids with Love

Juggling the demands of children, home, work, and volunteer opportunities is a difficult task for anyone…just ask “supermom” Belynda Montgomery.

A longtime member of First Baptist Church of Austin, Belynda says finding the energy to help others comes from her burning passion “to be where God wants her to be.”

From her missions work with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, to teaching Sunday School, to organizing a clothing exchange for foster children, Belynda says she is blessed to have the opportunity to serve others.

First Baptist Church of Austin Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Paynter said “Belynda brings an extraordinary combination of energy and compassion to everything she does. Add to that her great follow-through and you have a person who tackles challenges with sensitivity and never leaves something undone. It's pretty amazing to watch her at work.”
On Saturday, August 24th from 9 am until noon at First Austin, Belynda will head up an annual Clothing Exchange which benefits anyone that has children. The main focus of the event, she says is foster children and their families.
Belynda became interested in assisting foster families after volunteering at The Junior League of Austin’s Resale Shop from 2004 to 2009. She said she was impressed with how the organization assisted foster families who support the community’s must vulnerable children.  “We would provide a $25 a month credit for foster children,” Belynda said. Unfortunately the resale shop closed in June 2009.

About the same time, she heard that a foster family from her church who had also utilized the shop’s services was facing a job loss. “I felt God leading me to do something not only for the family in my church, but for others like them that don’t need the extra strain of having to buy clothes for the children they are already providing so much else for,” Belynda said.

With more than 30,000 kids in the foster care system in Texas according to Kid Count Data Center, Belynda has worked to make a difference and has headed up clothing exchange events once or twice a year at First Austin since 2009.  “I am called to do this work and am grateful everyday for having the opportunity to serve,” she said.

At the last exchange, clothing was distributed to more than 150 families. “We mostly have families of young children attending. Some are foster families, but not all.” She hopes to spread the word to more foster families so that they may be able to utilize the assistance.
Equally important to Belynda is teaching her own daughters to serve others.  Her children have been recruited to help their mother at the upcoming clothing exchange. “My kids have a minor in volunteering,” she said with a laugh.

Belynda’s kids have learned much of that spirit of volunteerism from being a member at First Austin.  “Our church is a place that helps lots of people and meets them where they are,” she said.  “Because of that influence, it is easy for them to see a need and fill it as if it were second nature. We are blessed with everything we have and being able to give is a gift.”

First Austin is thankful for and celebrates Belynda and her tireless service of others.
Volunteer at the event
Volunteers are needed Wednesday, August 21 from 9 am to noon to sort clothes, then again on Friday, August 23rd at 9 am to finish sorting and set the tables for the event, and finally on Saturday, August 24th, the day of the event, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm for set-up, registration, shopper assistance, clean -up, and then taking clothes to another local charity. Please contact Belynda at Belynda@austinsupermom.com if you can assist on any of those days.

Make a donation
Having enough clothing is key to the clothing exchange success. Clothing donations may be placed in the third floor closet next to the Awakenings classroom.  If you can help by donating money, $5 gift cards will be given to each foster child who attends the event.  The foster children will be able to use the gift cards to purchase socks or underwear. Please leave cash donations for gift cards in the front church office and call ahead at 512-476-2625 to arrange a time to deliver any clothing.