Holiday spirit and good cheer are—or should be–year round.
So believe three Ohio Wesleyan alumni who worked together to create a second Christmas music CD to benefit those less fortunate in Delaware.
“We want to help [listeners] connect to God’s love and provide for them comfort and hope and at the same time, provide comfort and hope to those in need,” says Julie Carmean, the pastor at William Street Church.
During my recent interview for Connect2 OWU with Carmean, a man walked in, looking for help. He had a job interview in 40 minutes and his car was out of gas. He knew that the church assists people by providing gas to help them get to job interviews or work. Carmean immediately hurried to help find a way for him to put gas in his car, praying with him before he left.
Carmean explains that the proceeds from the Christmas CDs help the church provide this kind of service.
Additional funds also go to Andrew’s House. From there, most of the money helps provide students with free lunches during the summer. In addition, funds offer continued aid for students who have school-subsidized lunches during the school year.
“There’s goodness in selling something that blesses the consumer, so to speak, and blesses those who benefit from the purchase,” says Carmean.
The Christmas CD, “Winter at William Street,” produced in 2009 by Doug Warnock ’75, Brian Hesselbart ’80, and Paul Burnside ’85, was a response to the recession. At the time, Carmean spoke to the congregation about the number of impoverished people in Delaware.
“What I began to work on was how we could be a church without walls,” Carmean explains. Her request was for the members of the church to help fight poverty in this community.
Last year, the group gathered again to create another Christmas CD called “Sharing the Light/Winter at William Street II.” The goals of the project have remained the same: to raise money for those in need in Delaware.
“The first one…was so well-received that it has continued to have a long life and share goodwill,” Warnock says. Because of this success, the group decided it was time to produce another CD featuring 12 Christmas songs, which Hesselbart, Burnside, and other musicians recorded in Sanborn Hall’s Jemison Auditorium last July. The earlier version resulted in donations totaling $13,000 for local charities; the 2013 version elicited a $20,000 gift.
“Being able to do good in the community and raise the level of goodwill are motivators for us,” Warnock says. And Ohio Wesleyan is part of an important part of the mix.
“Winter at William Street II” not only connects Delaware residents with each other, it also connects residents with the university.
“It’s really nice that there are a lot of Ohio Wesleyan alums and they help keep that connection,” Warnock said.
The William Street Church also annually hosts a free concert to promote the CD. Beginning in November, CDs are distributed throughout Delaware and the Ohio Wesleyan community, in hopes that local stores and community members will sell the CDs.
“When you hand one of these to someone you know, or someone you don’t know, without exception you end up with a smile in return,” Warnock said.