Local non-profits unite to build upon their life’s work

Music, pancakes, and divine intervention bring helpers to Chatham


Sometimes, a casual conversation can lead to big things.

Such is the case for a local non-profit organization, Sonshine and Blessings, and Pittsboro United Methodist Church.

The Church will host a pancake breakfast fundraiser Saturday, in the church’s new Family Life Center, to benefit both Sonshine and Blessings and the church, the result of that conversation several months back.

John Wilson, a member of the church, says the partnership of Sonshine and the church is “divine intervention,” in part because of the connection to a second non-profit he started, Brightest Light.

A lengthy musical background led Wilson to form a non-profit aimed at bringing music to places where “music might not normally be,” he explained in an interview. “Where people might be, for lack of a better word, down and out. “Places like hospitals, prisons, rehab centers, homes for the aged, community needs. And I don’t mean just an acoustic guitar but a stage and production, something like a concert.”

Pittsboro United Methodist’s choir director, David Smith, connected Wilson with Joyce Frank of Sonshine and Blessings.

That led Wilson, Frank, Smith and pastor Lucas Nelson to get together and share ideas on how to meet the goals of their various organizations.

Joyce Frank started her non-profit 20 years ago to help individuals living alone with the simple daily tasks of living, including transportation to doctor visits and to do daily errands, or simply to visit lonely folks in their homes.

For several years, the pancake breakfast had been a significant fundraiser for Sonshine, which is also funded by donations and fees for music lessons Frank teaches, often at reduced rates. But when COVID came along, that effort was put on hold.

“Not having that was a hardship,” Frank says. “We don’t charge for our services, which couldn’t happen anyway without the wonderful efforts of dedicated volunteers, so the chance to have this event again is a big help to us.”

Through the years, the breakfast — including pancakes with toppings, bacon, sausage and beverages — has occurred at several locations. This year, the move to the church’s facility seemed a natural to Wilson.

“We’ve got this nice big family life center with a nice commercial kitchen,” he told me. “We thought this was a way to help Joyce with what she does and to thank her for her help with my non-profit.”

Wilson says he feels the two groups are on the right path to help the community. “I know this is a God thing,” he says. “I spent a year researching non-profits and doing all the paperwork for approval to become a 501c3. I applied for it last summer and didn’t hear and didn’t hear. We were supposed to help with a fund-raiser this January for Lee County Special Olympics and I was on my way to tell them I couldn’t. But, I stopped by the post office and there it was in the mail.”

That Special Olympics event went on to raise more than $1,400.

You can reach Sonshine and Blessings by phone at 919-810-1230 or email joyce@sonshineandblessings.com.

“We’re always looking for folks who will volunteer a few hours a month to help,” Frank says. “We’ve got a dedicated group helping now but it’s not easy to take on new clients without more helpers. The needs are out there and we want to meet them with the love of Christ.”

Wilson, who has sound equipment and musicians he can call on, echoes that need. “We want to serve our communities and we want people to call on us to help however we can,” he says.

Reach Brightest Light by phone at 919-630-0240 or email wilsonmusic2000@gmail.com.

This weekend, the pancake breakfast is Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m, and they will take donations at the door. Both Joyce Frank and John Wilson will be on hand to greet the public and answer questions about how to become.

The Pittsboro United Methodist family life center is directly behind the church sanctuary, one block west of the courthouse in Pittsboro.