On any given week, The First Presbyterian Church in Everett, Washington welcomes over 150 community members into its sanctuary. But it’s not for Sunday morning service. They’re here for a different purpose and for good reason—to eat.
“There’s a mixed journey here; people who have been abused, have addiction issues or people who just can’t make ends meet,” shares Jay Kuhnhenn. Kuhnhenn is the coordinator of “Dinner at the Bell,” a weekly community dinner given to help those in need.
For many whose ends don’t meet, finding help isn’t always easy. “A lot of places push homeless people away,” shares “Dinner at the Bell” guest, Amanda.
The First Presbyterian Church doesn’t just welcome attendees with food, by partnering with CWS they are able to offer a little more. Guests receive hygiene kits and warm blankets to ease the chill of the winter air.
“From November to March it is not conducive to sleeping outside or in a car,” shares Dottie Villesvik, mission committee chair at the church. “They need more warmth, so the blankets are a Godsend.”
These physical items offer hope and serve as a gentle reminder that they are loved.
“I have been coming for almost ten years,” recalls Amanda. “It is nice for churches to open their arms to help people find a roof over their head, or clothing, or soap.”
But The First Presbyterian Church isn’t the only congregation in Everett standing in the gap for its neighbors. Just a few miles down the road, Cascade View Presbyterian Church is also answering the call to help others.
“We have a church that believes strongly in how God calls us to love and reach out,” explains Pastor Luke Hyder.
His congregation is turning hope into action by partnering with CWS to host Blanket Sunday offerings. The funds raised during blanket offerings are used to ensure there are resources available to people like Amanda.
“We as a church want to make tangible differences for those in need,” says Pastor Hyder.
By hosting a Blanket Sunday offering his congregation is doing just that. And the impact of those tangible differences is felt globally.
“We love to reach out and help those locally, but we also love to reach out to organizations like CWS who in turn reach out to those around the world, explains Pastor Hyder. “Through this, we know we are helping those who have been displaced, are refugees, or disaster victims; and when you have that helpless feeling during these times, I can look at what CWS is doing and can say, ‘Hey, I can support that!’”
And the people on the receiving side of the blankets and kits are very appreciative.
“Just saying thank you seems so trite. If you knew the value they are to our people, you would know how much they are appreciative, shares Villesvik. “They are so valuable and a gift from God.”
Generous congregations and individual donors make the sharing of these blankets and kits possible. TO PARTNER WITH CWS AND GET YOUR CONGREGATION INVOLVED WITH THIS MINISTRY CLICK HERE!