“After losing Jake, we were shocked and distraught,” shares Gracie Berglund, who said goodbye to her brother, just 15 years young, on Easter Sunday morning last year. “Nothing about this journey has been easy, but the way our community has rallied around us is a continual reminder of how much Jake was loved.”
Sunshine Saturday Ministries is one of those cheerleaders rooting for, praying for, and doing its best to encourage families just like the Berglunds. “Last spring, I looked around and felt the weight that so many were carrying,” says Shannon Hogue, founder of Sunshine Saturday. “Of course, COVID-19 was bringing discouragement and exhaustion to most of our homes on some level with lockdowns, parents thrown into homeschooling, and kids energy held captive. Yet, while we fussed about our difficulties, other families were walking through their darkest valleys after burying loved ones—and in several instances, those same children they were homeschooling days earlier.”
Shannon’s heart was moved with compassion for all who were hurting, and those of you who know Shannon will attest that when she sees a need, she doesn’t sit idle. “One Saturday, I felt led to leave flowers for a dozen or so people I knew needed encouragement,” she explains. “After I made a few deliveries and connected with both friends and strangers, prayed with them, and saw their smiles as I shared a bouquet, I knew I was just where God wanted me to be.”
When Shannon first came to Amelia Island, she started work as the very first teacher at Fernandina Beach Christian Academy, where she served for seven years developing and expanding the school and building its curriculum. It was here that she earned the name “Ms. Shannon.”
In the summers, kids can’t wait to attend Ms. Shannon’s Summer Camps, and others who need some extra help with their schooling value the services of Ms. Shannon’s Tutoring. For the past four years, she’s served on the Emma Love Hardee Elementary team, where she coaches both students and teachers on reading strategies and instruction. “While I thrive in my day job(s), the Lord has put it on my heart to do more for Him, and Sunshine Saturday Ministries is my answer to His call.”
Every Saturday morning for nearly a year now, Brent, Savannah, Saylor, and Cayman Hogue have shared their wife and mom with those needing a little help. She starts the day in the Publix floral department with the same team member helping to load her cart. From there, she rings doorbells around Florida’s First Coast. “I pray over each bouquet, pray for—and often with—the recipients, and include a Scripture card.”
“Shannon is a blessing to so many. She shares her valuable time, energy, and money to make others feel good when they are sad, scared, lonely, sick, mourning, or just having a tough time. She has a special way of making people feel stronger, and there is nothing more precious than knowing someone was thinking of you and took time to seek you out and deliver a gift,” says Nicole Anderson, who was recently surprised with a bouquet.
Looking to the future, Shannon is working to register Sunshine Ministries as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and is looking to grow. In the meantime, anyone interested can join the Sunshine Saturday Ministries Facebook page and follow Shannon live every Saturday, hear words of wisdom, and most of all, find encouragement.
And if you know of any friends who need a little sunshine in their lives or if you would like to support this ministry financially, send a Facebook message. “Sunshine Saturday’s is such a blessing,” Gracie concludes. “Shannon put a smile on my face when I was least expecting it!”