As you know, we opened for the first time on October 30, 2013, and have been quietly working every Wednesday morning in the old narthex area on "I" Street. The people we meet are from every walk of life, as bad luck, unemployment, ill health and sometimes poor life choices, know no boundaries. Each person who walks through our door is guaranteed a warm greeting, a hot cup of coffee, chocolate or tea, and a non-judgmental atmosphere in which to tell us of their difficulties and needs.
Over these months, we have noticed that our Native American friends are among those who come to see us. We are pleased that word about Humanitas has swiftly reached them. Most of the time, we can give aid. If we can't, then we do our best to offer advice as to where they can turn for help. We have ministered to Skagit, Mission and Nez Perce tribal members, but the majority of Native Americans who have found us have been from the Lummi Nation. Here are three of their stories:
Lennie called us during the Christmas break when the food banks were closed. He had paid for a motel room for several days, but had no money left over for anything else. He had eight children, but was traveling with just his wife and a baby who needed milk. We were able to furnish him with vouchers for both food and gas to tide them all over the holidays.We encouraged him to contact his extended family.
Maisy was obviously very sick when she came to see us. She had "bad legs" and had great difficulty walking. She breathed hard and wheezed even while seated. We had talked on the phone the previous day, and she had been urged to send a friend on her behalf. However, she chose to come in person. She was worried about her power bill which was now 24 hours overdue, she was already on a partial payment program, and had received help from Opportunity Council. We added our pledge to those she had already gathered from other Community Resource Network churches.
Arthur, a recovering alcoholic, "keeping his head down and staying out of trouble," had been working two restaurant jobs for two years, which together brought him in $974 per month. There was not much left over after paying his monthly rent of $700. He had been sent home from work because he was sick and had lost several days' pay as a result. Fortunately, he was eligible for food stamps, but he needed assistance with the current month's rent. We were glad that we could alleviate his anxiety about maintaining a roof over his head.
To ease the worries of those in distress, even in our small way, is very satisfying. For that we thank the wonderful congregation at BUF who have aided this mission. Of course, we are constantly fundraising. It would be very hard indeed to hear these cries for help and have no way of offering assistance. To those who generously gave at the auction, to those who have donated along the way, and to the members of our Ten Bucks A Month Club, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.
The Humanitas Team, June 6, 2014
Note: Today is school graduation day for the Lummi Nation. Congratulations all graduates. May you lead successful and happy lives.