Keep the faith
The Keep the Faith Sharing Project was a mystery to me until I listened to Bonnie Hession, the project’s founder, explain how she got the idea and inspiration to start a local movement of giving.
She started the project last fall amidst a series of personal and family trials. She knew Keep the Faith was the message she was supposed to share with others.
In a nutshell, the project is about delivering faith, hope and love in the disguise of a small gift, designed to enable individuals to journey toward healing. She encourages people to join the simple but profound movement.
“It’s now my new life’s mission,” she said. “My heart is in this project. People have responded so positively that I feel like I’m only the messenger.”
Judging by the growing list of gifts to deliver, Hession’s Keep the Faith Sharing Project is gaining momentum week by week. She remains organized but isn’t stressing about controlling the project to the nth degree.
“I’m not as fearful any more about wanting everything to be perfect,” she said. “I feel blessed to be a part of a lot of different people’s journey. Keep the Faith is an ever-evolving story.”
Keep the Faith Sharing Project seems to be an extension of the way she’s lived her life for decades. Much of her story goes back to her alma mater, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau. In one way or the other, the school’s spirit and influence seems to have remained with her since the day she graduated leading her to serve others in a variety of ways.
She’s also challenging others to serve. Specifically during Lent, she’s challenging others to visit someone who’s homebound or in a nursing home 30 minutes a week.
In fact, that spirit of sharing led to our paths crossing recently. Earlier this month, my father became quite ill on a visit to Lafayette and ended up spending 9 days in the hospital. Hession messaged me via Facebook after my dad went to the hospital and asked if she could stop by and visit my parents. She said an anonymous donor had given a Keep the Faith token that she wanted to deliver.
“I find out on Facebook about a lot of the people in need,” she said.
Rather than simply reading those posts, Hession reaches out.
“There’s always somebody in need. You have the opportunity to reach out and make a difference,” she said.
What happened during Hession’s visit with my parents remains a mystery to me, but I know something special went down. By the time I got to the hospital, both of my parents were in great spirits and couldn’t stop talking about the incredible visit they had had. My dad was wearing his Keep the Faith baseball cap in his hospital bed. While they appreciated the gifts, it was mainly Hession’s visit that lifted their spirits.
I wanted to learn more.
“What exactly is the Keep the Faith Sharing Project?” I asked her.
She explained that people contact her to sponsor gifts for others. On what she calls Giving Mondays, she either mails the gift package or personally delivers them to local recipients. Either way, all gifts remain anonymous.
“I just knew that it had to be anonymous. In being anonymous — as a recipient — people are like, ‘Wow, who’s thinking about me?’” she said. “And our prayers go with it, which makes them wonder, ‘Who’s praying for me?’”
“From December to now, I’ve delivered every Monday,” she said. “It’s rained and stormed six of those Mondays, but it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, I’m always received in joy — this whole project is about reaching out to people.”
She encourages others interested in the Keep the Faith Sharing Project to start by reaching out to their own families. Liking Keep the Faith Sharing Project on Facebook keeps you updated with new giving challenges and updates.
“When someone is down and out, there aren’t many words to say that make a difference,” she said, “But if people know that I’m praying for them — or if they choose to share on our Facebook page, they know that others are praying for them too — it makes a difference.”