Ruth, Footprints in the Community
Ruth Fox, East Cleveland Baptist Church and Footprints in the Community
Meet Ruth, the founder of Footprints in the Community, based in East Cleveland. She set the charity up six years ago, which aims to help reduce poverty and isolation in the area through a number of different projects. These projects include something to help everyone in need; a Foodbank, a Next Step Shop with reduced costs, a holiday food club for children, a First Steps group providing baby clothes and equipment as well as a men's outreach, community cafe, Street Angels and a dementia support group - what a lot of support for the community!
A member of Ruth's church, the previous Acts 435 Advocate, was utilising it for her work with Christians Against Poverty, but she recently retired. Ruth says "I knew about the scheme as she had helped a couple of our Foodbank clients out by putting in requests to Acts 435, so when she said she was stepping down as an advocate I decided I would step up! Very soon after I was at a Foodbank meeting where there was a presentation from Acts 435, and I volunteered as an advocate from there."
As Ruth is so involved with many of the local ministries she's in a great position to be the point of contact for Acts 435 requests. Not only with her own church, but with others in the local area. Redcar and surrounding areas are extremely deprived areas with high levels of unemployment.
Ruth has said she has "loved being able to play a small part in helping fund specific items for people in need", and went on to tell us some stories about people that have been helped through Acts 435:
Some young people who had attended our Lunch Box Project went on to join the Church youth group. This year the youth worker contacted me to see if we could help fund four of these young people to attend Soul Survivor Christian youth camp. I posted the requests and each one was met. The families were so blessed to know that other people - strangers to them - had helped to fund their children have a week away with the Church youth. 3 of the 4 made commitments whilst they were there to follow Jesus. How amazing!
One of our volunteers has terminal cancer - he had his bike stolen from his back yard and was devastated as this was his means of getting to and from the Men's Shed. We raised the cash through Acts 435 to buy him a replacement bike. He was over the moon. He continues to attend the shed when he's well enough - it's his lifeline. He's only a young man with a wife and four children.
Ruth shares that "being an Advocate and being able to help people so practically gives so many opportunities to share God's love."