By Kate Kellenberger:
I often spend my Saturdays at the 180 Zone's West End Initiative held at Monroe Elementary. This program reaches out to children and families living in poverty. Volunteers represent area churches and men and women from the 180 housing program.
The West End Initiative provides faith based activities for families and kids of all ages with a goal of building relationships with each other and God. It parallels our own mission of experience God’s love, develop relationships, and revive the world. Over the last year, I have bonded with these families and consider it a blessing to be a part of their life.
I have gotten to know one set of siblings very well. They had a particularly heart-breaking past and last year moved into a homeless shelter. As their guardian was preparing them to leave the shelter for a new apartment, he made a request. He asked if anyone knew someone that was upgrading furniture, or had household items to spare as these were needed to help them start over.
I turned this need over to my small group. I asked for prayer for this family and if there was anything we could do. The response from my small group was overwhelming. A list of every practical household item we could think of was made and circulated by email. Daily updates, sometimes several a day, were sent to update each other on donations flowing in.
Within less than a week, my small group, with the help of their friends, met every request on the list. A cash donation from a friend on the East Coast was used to purchase last minute items that were needed. The Christ Church United Methodist Men helped move furniture from the Salvation Army and several other locations to storage, and eventually to the family’s new home on moving day.
A few members were blessed to meet the guardian and help them unpack, and clean a few of the donated items before they were put into place. A couple others were lucky enough to meet the siblings and see them enjoying their new space.
Prayer, a heart for service by our small group and the United Methodist Men helped spread the love of God and provided for this family to start over again in a home of their own. Being part of a small group, sharing our lives together, and reaching to bring life and hope to others is a blessing to me.