Chaplain (Maj.) Pamela Parker presents the congregation's $5,966.85 check to Total Tots committee volunteer chairperson Pam Stieglitz and program coordinator Virginia Dempsey.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Bicentennial Chapel patrons reached into their pockets on Easter Sunday to help military family members.

Their designated offering of $5,966.85 to the Total Tots program will provide for free child care for military families in need.

"We are so grateful to Bicentennial Chapel," Pam Stieglitz, volunteer chairperson of the Total Tots committee, said. "They do a designated offering once a year. And I can't tell you how grateful we are for their interest and support of families in need."

The contribution came from the 11 a.m. collective Protestant service and the 6:30 Easter sunrise service April 4, according to Chaplain (Maj.) Pamela Parker, pastoral coordinator for the Garrison Chaplains Office.

"It's one of 12 or 15 (designated offerings) that we do throughout the year to various helping organizations," Parker said. "And we do these local. So we try to give back to the community both on-post as well as off-post."

The gift came from the collective Protestant congregation. At the beginning of each year, members of the Parish Council decide who they would like to do designated offerings for.

"And Total Tots is one thing we want to do because all the proceeds assist Soldiers and family members," Parker said.

Total Tots began in 1986. It helps from 20-25 families each year, according to Virginia Dempsey, the family advocacy program manager at Army Community Service and the coordinator of Total Tots.

"It is a program that provides free child care to Soldiers and family members that are experiencing a crisis or are in need of respite care and cannot pay for the child care. And there are no other resources available to them," Dempsey said.

When other resources cannot be found in the community, Total Tots serves as a last option for these families in need. For more information about the program, call Dempsey at ACS at 876-5397.

"Every penny that is given to us goes for the emergency child care in a crisis," Stieglitz said.

"Obviously there are no administrative costs," Dempsey added.

Dempsey attributed the program's continuance to its support from the community. "And we are grateful that for so many years we have had this program," she said.

Dempsey and Stieglitz both expressed their appreciation for the designated offering.

"This is fantastic," Dempsey said. "And to do it on Easter, I mean that is just so wonderful."

"It was a wonderful surprise," Stieglitz said. "And I thank you very much."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16