I am big on shared experiences!! Big on exposing people to things that will evoke in them a new vision, a repentant heart, or perhaps a deep gratefulness.
Yesterday our ministry team had 2 eye opening experiences! We first visited Birch Community Services, a non-profit that feeds 700 families in need every week. Barry Birch met with us, he and his wife Suzanne started out donating left over bread to a few needy families in their Northeast Portland neighborhood in the mid 1980’s. Today they run a 22,000 square foot warehouse that shelves every kind of donated food product you would find in a grocery store. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays families who would otherwise fall through the cracks of government assistance are able to shop for groceries, as well as clothing and other household necessities. These families volunteer a certain number of hours each month, send thank you notes to product suppliers and pay a monthly $50.00 fee to participate in this high accountability program.
Birch Community Services is one of the most organic movements I have ever seen, you cannot go there, hear their story and not walk away inspired by redemption and transformation. It is just plain powerful.
Our next stop was Shepherd’s Door, home to 34 would be homeless women and 27 children. Again, a powerful testimony to life transformation and meeting the need in our own backyards. Shepherd’s Door takes in women who are homeless and often have children. They give them a place to call home as well as walk with them through addiction recovery, life skills, parenting, and Biblical life transformation. I wanted to move in. Surrounded by women and children in need who want help was enough to make me want to take up residence and be a part of the miraculous work that is happening in this Northeast Portland neighborhood.
There is something about a non-profit, something that inspires us to something more, something beyond ourselves, something that is not about us but rather meets the needs of others. These 2 non-profits moved me, I hope not only for a day, but for a lifetime.
I would encourage you as moms and dads to get out into your surrounding neighborhoods and take in what is happening. Visit places like these and take the kids. Chances are you will never be the same.