Agape Child & Family Services is bringing back its Pictures of Hope holiday card sets fundraiser from last holiday season, and the sets are the result of a nationally sponsored program targeting children in need.
(Agape Child & Family Services)
“Pictures of Hope nationally targets children who are transitioning in and out of homelessness,” said Lori Humber, Agape volunteer coordinator responsible for event planning. “One of the biggest keys for any person, whether they are a child or an adult, to move out of poverty or change their situation is to be exposed to things they’ve never seen before or may not have had the opportunity to see.”
Agape is a Christian-based organization dedicated to providing underprivileged children and families with healthy homes. The organization operates offices in Memphis and Jackson, Tenn.
This year’s holiday card photos were captured by Memphis children facing homelessness or in an under-resourced community.
The packages of 15 cards are available for pre-order at agapemeanslove.org for $25 per set, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefits Agape. Last year, sales of approximately 450 card sets generated more than $11,000, and the same number of sets is being produced this year.
The sets will be available by December at program sponsor Chuck Hutton Chevrolet, and the dealership plans to purchase a set of cards for each person buying a car from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
“Last year’s event was incredible, and we feel fortunate to have been selected to participate for a second year,” said Henry Hutton, president and general manager of Chuck Hutton Chevrolet, at the Pictures of Hope event in Memphis in August.
Memphis is one of 12 cities chosen for the program this year, along with Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; Ft. Myers and El Paso, Texas; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; Phoenix; Cleveland; and Morristown, N.J. This marks the second straight year for the program in Memphis.
“It’s so important to show kids that their dreams matter.”
Pictures of Hope
Award-winning photojournalist and author Linda Solomon spearheads the program through her nationally acclaimed “Pictures of Hope.”
Solomon selected the winning shots and handled any needed edits.
“It’s important to show kids that their dreams matter,” said Solomon when she visited Memphis in August. “I was so touched by the devotion to the kids last year here in Memphis that we had to come back. Agape is such an outstanding agency with what they do for families that I suggested to Chevrolet that we come back for a second year.”
She explained that the program helps children build self-esteem and puts them on the path toward achievement.
The card sets are the direct result of the Agape Pictures of Hope event in August. Fourteen children were surprised with free digital cameras donated by co-sponsor Walgreens, and the kids, ages 7 to 15, journeyed to the University of Memphis that afternoon to explore and take snapshots of their interests.
“Activities like this provide our children with people, activities or an art form that they might have only read about in school,” said Humber, who expects that the August excursion to the university was probably the first time on a college campus for all of the children. “It provided an inspiration that went beyond just photography.”
Humber explained how one student already involved with her high school’s marching band happily discovered the university’s marching band, sparking possible plans for her own future.
The Pictures of Hope participants were selected from more than 10,000 children served at Agape centers around Memphis each year.
The fledgling photographers, each who will have at least one photo in this year’s set, will be honored at a Meet the Young Artist reception at Chuck Hutton Chevrolet Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. Several hundred people are expected to attend.
“All of the Mid-South Chevrolet dealerships have also pooled resources to do extra supportive things for the children that participate and their families during the holiday season,” said Humber, who, along with Hutton, hopes to see the program return to Memphis next year.