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a whole-hearted invitation to the entire
community to come out and lend a hand
on Tuesday and Wednesday nights from
Rev. Margaret Ann
Jessup and the ladies of
Wooden it be Lovely
Come in work clothes to 501 S. Douglas
Ave. in Springfield, and find your way to
the education wing of the church. There
you will be greeted by one of the church’s
representatives, who will find the best job
Jessup assures SO that anyone can participate, even if they have never painted
furniture before. From priming to moving
furniture to cutting out price tags, there is
a task for anyone willing to help.
Clubs and groups are certainly welcome
to participate, as well.
hope in those who may be in a state of
crisis. Jessup sees this kind of potential in
Wooden It Be Lovely. She simply states,
“Women who were not befriended by society suddenly feel loved.”
She explains that the community plays
a crucial role in the survival of this program. The associates work alongside
church and community volunteers to create and learn in a friendly, no-pressure
“We want to change the mindset of the
community,” Jessup says seriously, “that
so many women who live in poverty do
not want that stereotype. We find that
women want lifted out of that and they
just need a hand.”
By Erin Hovey-Schafer
“Every one of us are called to help
some kind of cause.”
So says Rev. Margaret Ann Jessup of
Douglas Avenue United Methodist
Church (DAUMC), who has seen the very
real needs and is certain of the possibility
for needs to be met in ways that have everlasting impact.
“I see how hard it is for women with children — to have kids to support and have
no money. It almost seems impossible,”
Jessup and the DAUMC support this message of hope through an innovative community program called Wooden It Be
Lovely. The goal of this program is to assist women living in poverty and battling
addiction by providing them with stable, paid employment refurbishing old
Photos By Bridget Shaw
It is DAUMC’s hope that the professional skills learned through this employment
will help these women, whose job titles
are “associates,” gain the skills necessary
to find and keep a full-time position in
A former associate, Jacqui Pitchford,
writes of her experience with the Wooden It Be Lovely program in a heartfelt letter to Jessup.
“Because of your generosity, my daughter
and I were able to remain in our home. I
With the help of volunteers, associates
don’t think I could have done this withspend 10-20 hours a week sanding, paint- out your help. Now, I am fully employed
ing, and organizing with the Wooden It
again, back on track, and moving forward
Be Lovely program. Along with work exto better things.”
perience, the DAUMC offers mentoring
workshops given by community volunAdds Jessup: “She came last weekend and
teers on resume writing, dressing profes- volunteered for the whole day.”
sionally, and working as a team.
Jessup explains that giving back is an imSince its first employee was hired in
portant lesson the program tries to instill.
March 2016, the program has seen sucThrough Pitchford’s continual support of
cess. Three women have overcome sethe associates and the program, she emrious drug addictions and some associbodies the vision of Wooden It Be Lovely.
ates have transitioned into more stable
Interacting with members of the community who seek greater good inspires
alongside these women.”
Jessup finds that the open-door policy
DAUMC upholds is very beneficial to the
program. The diversity of volunteers produces a variety of furniture pieces, but
more important is the interaction between the volunteers and associates.
Jessup reminds us that Wooden It Be
Lovely is not about creating and selling
Along with paying the associates, Wooden It Be Lovely donates 5 percent of its
profits to a charity. This last year, the program has been donating to Contact Ministries, a faith-based social services program that helps poverty level families.
Wooden It Be Lovely leans on the kindWooden It Be Lovely has three major furness and generosity of the community for niture sales a year. The next is tentativethe success of its program.
ly set for March 25. The program intends
to start listing its colorful creations on
DAUMC also relies on the community for Facebook. Jessup and the team encourthe donation of furniture. It welcomes
age interested buyers to like their Faceany wooden piece of furniture that is in
good repair. Other items requested by
But until their next sale, DAUMC extends
the associates and mentoring program
include paint brushes, paint, sand paper,
tools, screws, and knobs.
Along with a wish-list for the essentials,
Wooden It Be Lovely asks people to donate their time to the program. The program would love to have the support of
community volunteers for its biweekly
paint nights at the church. Jessup invites
everyone to help with the cause.
“The community is very interested,” Jessup says. “It is amazing how the community has responded. People from all walks
of life and faiths come to DAUMC to paint
Every Thursday DAUMC has a fundraising paint night, during which groups are
given specific pieces to paint with stepby-step instructions from one of the associates. Simply contact the program to
arrange a night of painting for a great
cause for your club, team, organization,
“It’s a way you can have fun and give back
at the same time,” Jessup says with an
Wooden It Be Lovely, with the support of
the community, has helped so many.
“The encouragement and positive
thoughts given to me by the amazing ladies in this group has been such a blessing to me,” writes Pitchford in her letter.
“The Wooden It Be Lovely program is so
valuable and has given me so much more
than a paycheck.”
For more information on the Wooden It
Be Lovely program visit
follow it on Facebook!