It started about 12 years ago when Carol Wilmes from the Ruth Circle at Eastminster Presbyterian in Grand Rapids was cleaning out some of her unused jewelry. She decided to see if others from her circle would like to join her. The vision was to sell the jewelry and give the proceeds to a local nonprofit addressing childhood hunger. It took off from there.
For the past 12 years, the women of the Ruth Circle at Eastminster have been collecting jewelry and selling it in an annual “Vintage Jewelry” sale. A local jeweler has even gotten in on the work. He helps identify valuable pieces among the donated items and then sells them. The jeweler also collects items for their sale. All the proceeds have been donated to Kids’ Food Basket to benefit West Michigan children and their families and to New City Kids in Grand Rapids. The women of Eastminster have given more than $76,000 to Kids’ Food Basket through their jewelry sales.
They held their last sale on June 4, 2023, and gave Kids’ Food basket $5,000. Attached is the thank-you video sent by Kids’ Food Basket.
Eastminster Presbyterian Church will dissolve as a worshiping community later this fall, but the women of the Ruth Circle did not want this mission work to die. They have passed on the leftover jewelry and the deep sense of mission to two organizations.
The Presbyterian Women of the Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Jenison will carry on a large chunk of this ministry in starting their own annual vintage jewelry sale. They will have their first sale as part of the church’s annual Artisan Market on September 9, 2023. All proceeds will go to Kids’ Food Basket and Hand 2 Hand. Both are food ministries targeting children and youth.
Some of the jewelry was also given to Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors ministry). The leaders of Puertas Abiertas will carry on jewelry sales to fund their ministry of supporting the vulnerable population of Latina women and their children in Kent County.
The Eastminster legacy lives on! Praise be to God!
On Sunday, August 27, 2023, during the 10 a.m. worship service at Parkwood Presbyterian, the Ruth Circles from both Eastminster and Parkwood gathered to give thanks to God and the faithful women at Eastminster and to commission and bless the Parkwood women who will carry on this ministry.
Below is a thank you video from Kids Food Basket.