On October 30, 2013, we opened our doors for the first time. We were thrilled to be a part of Bellingham's Community Resource Network and, 12 months later, we still feel the same way.
Last Saturday, we spent the day at BUF's harvest festival. It was a happy gathering and we used it as a forum to advertise our presence and to raise some money for our cause. It was truly a team effort as, during the summer, some of us opted to spend several mornings picking blackberries, others chose to meet a couple of afternoons to make jam in BUF's kitchen, while the rest provided the glass jars and labels for our product: Humanitas Homemade Blackberry Jam. It is excellent--and we have more jars available if you missed the sale at the harvest festival (see the Humanitas table in the social hall each Sunday).
It is appropriate at this point, I think, to say a word about the dedicated team of people who show up at Humanitas, week after week, to greet each guest with a warm smile, a ready ear, and an open heart. During these 12 months, we have become a tightly knit ministry, but that does not mean we are a closed group. We welcome anyone into our fold who wants to serve our greater community in this way. We are proud to work with other churches in our inter-faith effort to help local people who are going through a tough time. We have learned the myriad ways in which they suffer, our level of awareness has grown, and we have come to realize, in all humility, that "but for the grace of God" or "the luck of the draw," we, too, could be a step away from disaster.
Bailey needed a warm jacket. His family was paying for the cost of travel to Spokane so that he could enter a drug rehabilitation facility, but winter is on its way. The coat he was wearing belonged to his brother, and he wore it only on "a temporary basis." Luckily, Bailey's timing was perfect--we were having a coat drive at BUF that week. One of us escorted him to the coat pile and he spent a wonderful few minutes choosing a coat that fitted him properly. As he left, he remarked that it was "better than his brother's!" No funds from Humanitas changed hands in this transaction. Thank you, BUF coat donors.
Myra lives in a motel that has seen better days, but she is adamant that she will not relocate. She relies on a wheelchair, as her legs have been amputated below the knee. Volunteers do her shopping and any other errands she may require. She runs into difficulties because she does not treat the volunteers well. If this behavior continues, our fear is she may run out of options. Following several telephone calls, though, a seasoned volunteer came to us on her behalf. We gave him a voucher for groceries from Fred Meyer so that Myra could purchase the special food she insists she needs. Not everyone is grateful for our help, but that does not mean the need is any less.
Toby suffers from Crohn's disease and had just been released from another hospital stay, this time for two weeks. He tries, but it is hard for him to hold down a job under these circumstances. He needed help to pay a power bill, and had pledges from several churches in our network. Toby's wife is working full time in retail sales, but she is a hair and makeup artist and "works around the clock" building up her clientele. We gladly added our pledge to those he had already collected.
Thank you for continuing to support this mission. We are very careful with your donations. Every dollar we receive goes to the clients. ALL our supplies, e.g. stationery plus the coffee, tea and healthy snacks we offer our clients, are donated by the Humanitas team.