Friday, December 7, 2018

Little things.....

I love my job so much! You are all probably tired of hearing me say that I have the best job in the world, but it is true. Even when we are crazy busy and ramped up for the holidays; when my stress level is on maximum overdrive—I love this job. Today God reached down to show me, once again, what Hope House means to people, and how little it takes to change someone’s life.

In the midst of the Christmas carols playing, the tree in the corner and the bustle of the end of the week, God showed us the way.

There once was a girl……..who drove us all crazy with her quirky, and often demanding, personality. She had decided over the last weeks to focus her passive aggression on me—to the point of driving me nuts! Which I kind of think is what she was trying for? Every visit (and there were many!) turned into a tug of war over what she could and couldn’t do/get. She pushed, I stood firm, she pushed again, I got irritated and she won. What was consistent in her requests was the need for a phone. Homeless, not welcome in many places and often alone, she wanted a phone more than anything.

Last time she was in, I tried being overly solicitous and helpful and she left in a good mood with a minimum of trouble. Today, I was on intake duty when she appeared. As she sat there looking despondent and wondering how she could get a phone, the Holy Spirit said to me “give her a phone”. Knowing that our Assumption Financial Assistance people had given out almost no money today, I approached them with the idea of calling Fred Meyers and seeing how much it would cost.

Long story short, it was reasonable and Fred’s takes our vouchers, so we broke our rule about no phone help and wrote out a voucher for a phone from Freds. You could hear her crying all through the building. She was so touched and so happy and promised to call her mom as soon as she had the phone in hand.

We’re hoping a call to mom will lead her home……in more ways than one!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Well, we’re here—in our new “home”. In a bright, clean, open and welcoming new building on the site of the shabby, old and familiar one. People keep asking me if it is all I expected it to be and my answer is “yes, but…..”  Don’t get me wrong—we are so unbelievably blessed in our new space and thankful for everything we have, but……

Do you remember being a child and looking forward to your birthday or Christmas or a family vacation? So much anticipation, so much excitement. Then it comes (and goes) and real life is left in its place. That’s where we are—settling into life in our new space. In our church we call this “Ordinary time”, time between the exciting and special times of the year. Since this special event was 18 years in the making, we have a lot of anticipation “high” to come down off of!

In the meantime, we are dealing with learning how to use this beautiful building to its best purpose. It is a constant work in progress, as we arrange and rearrange all the furniture, the shelving and racks, even the coffee cart and sorting tables. Learning how best to clean restrooms has been fun!

We are busier than ever, as our clients, old and new, learn how warm and welcoming our new place is. As I sit here in my office on a Monday morning, the place is bustling with adults talking and children reading books and watching cartoon movies on our new television. The wind is blowing hard outside, it is a gray and rainy day, but we are here in our bright, shiny new home with hot coffee and cookies.

Come visit us sometime! We love to show her off.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

We are changing big-time at Hope House!

·        Our bright, shiny new building will hopefully be open in October (I’ll let you know for sure the date before then!). RAM Construction has been so faithfully there every day putting it together for us—they are wonderful partners for us in this endeavor.

·        We have been working out of the shed—or, as we affectionately call it—the Hope Shack! Luckily, it is summer and we are not suffering too much (although runs to the church for the restroom make you re-think your coffee needs in the morning!). Our clients have managed to find us when they need to, and we enjoy the time to just visit and also take time with our families this summer.

·        Our new building will have all services on one floor and in a much more open floor plan. We are also excited that we will have public restrooms for our clients. Those who are in wheelchairs or walkers will be able to access Hope House through the front door, and find it easier to maneuver through the space.

How are we staying the same? Our clients. Our wonderful, caring clients who take care of each other. Just last week we had an elderly gentleman who accesses our hygiene services show up one morning with a bag of canned goods to donate. He said the food bank gave him more than he needed so he wanted to share it with others.

That story says it all—Hope House continues to be a magical place!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Come to Our Party!

We have a wonderful regular client who used to be a cook in the Navy, and he misses cooking for people. He also likes to socialize and is a source of knowledge about resources in our community for the low or no income. Every once in a while he cooks up a casserole, makes some sandwiches or French toast and brings them in to share. Today, the offering is a yummy macaroni casserole and we are very busy. Twenty minutes in to the day and the pan is empty, people are eating and conversations about recipes and food are happening inside and out.

If you didn’t know better, you would think this was a family reunion or gathering of friends. Our clients love to interact and take care of each other. Let me count the ways:

  •          Well, Geo brings in his culinary creations to share, of course.
  •          Men give up their seats to women. (I will confess I often have to gently “remind’ them.)
  •      More and more of our clients are learning to speak Spanish in an attempt to communicate with their neighbors.
  •      Gentle teasing about sports teams happens often during football season. (Wear your 49’ers hat at your own risk!)
  •     Disney movies with great sound tracks playing on the TV prompt sing-alongs and even some dancing. Shrek is a favorite—great sound track! “I’m a believer; I couldn’t leave her if I tried…”
  •    The sidewalk chalk for children almost always gets a few adults on their knees creating masterpieces.
  •      People give each other rides, help with carrying things and babies out to the cars and offer resource ideas to each other.

In the meantime, listening in on a food conversation, I heard one person tell another how much they love tacos, which led to a discourse on food truck food. One memorable Friday a couple of years ago, an ice cream truck pulled up and offered free ice cream to our clients on a hot summer day. If any of you have food trucks……

I can’t help but feel that Jesus would love this gathering place and the family feel of it. After all, Jesus was a party animal!

Friday, August 11, 2017

I cannot believe how fast this summer has gone by! A long sunny summer that has tried the patience of many of us.  At Hope House, people are hot, sweaty, and cranky—you name it.  We have been offering cold water to everyone and sidewalk chalk to keep the children occupied, but I think we are all looking forward to FALL! GO HAWKS!!!

We are in the process of collecting school supplies for our families. This is such a hard time of year for parents. I remember my husband and I had trouble stretching our budget when our children were young, and he always had a good job. But with school clothing, new shoes and underwear, school fees, lunchboxes and backpacks—well, it never ends. Every year, Hope House distributes 100+ school supply packets and over 50 backpacks.  If anyone can help, please feel free to drop off supplies during our open hours! Please help those families whose budgets are suffering from these added expenses.

We are also excited at Hope House because we are now only a few months away from tearing this old house down and building a new Hope House! Open areas will make for easier shopping, a new children’s play area in the waiting room and public restrooms for our clients—just a few of the exciting pieces to the new Hope House puzzle! This will be a sometimes confusing process for us, so prayers are needed that we keep our patience and compassion flowing.

Change can be scary, but this change will be awesome! Thank you, Jesus!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Wizard of Oz and Homemade Home Fries--What More Could You Want?

Tuesday morning at Hope House:

The Wizard of Oz is playing on the little television in our waiting room. Surprisingly, the toddlers and young children are mesmerized by this age old classic. Even without bright lights and fast scenes! FYI—the adults are even more enthralled—singing along to the great songs……
The smell in the air is of some delicious home fries that one of our regulars made for everyone and brought in to share. They are sooooo good! My tummy is happy……

The disabled adult program that volunteers each week is busily packing food bags in our shed, enjoying the warm breeze and dry air, instead of rain…..

             Our immigrant moms are chatting happily in Spanish while they shop and their children play…

 Because Tuesdays are usually the quietest day of the week, the staff in the kitchen area are rapidly moving through sorting and hanging clothing and housewares…..

This morning I sent a young mom on to DVSAS for help with a no-contact order and a parenting plan; offered another young woman the information for Law Advocates for help with a legal issue and assisted a man with how to find another church he needs to visit tomorrow morning for financial assistance…..

 And I am more aware than ever of how much this old building and this simple yet powerful program means to so many in our community.  In this building the Body of Christ serves the Body of Christ with love and compassion, offering a hand in friendship and understanding ….

God the Father, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit all live in this crumbling old house and fill it with Hope!

Friday, May 19, 2017

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood!

Friday can be stressful at Hope House. I don’t know if it is because everyone is trying to make sure they have enough supplies to last the weekend or just because it is an afternoon time slot, but if we are going to have arguments over who was in line first or who is being rude—it will be on Friday!

So today is a pleasant surprise to me at the end of a busy week. Even though we had a huge line when we opened the doors at noon, everyone has been in such a good mood! As I sit here in my office, I hear children playing, moms chatting and staff interacting with our clients as if they are family (which they are). The atmosphere is so great today—to go along with the sunshine outside.

A big part of this wonderful day is one of our volunteers (well, all of them are wonderful, but Matt stands out as a beacon of light). As I walked by him to my office, just after opening the front door, he came out of the back room singing “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”  A Couple of clients joined in with him and we all had our day brightened up!

Another element of the happy day is Chris, a longtime client and Friday regular. She is always at the door, with a smile on her face and spends her time chatting with other waiting clients—it becomes a real party atmosphere on the front lawn Friday afternoons. I need to remember to get some new sidewalk chalk for the kids to use while waiting.

Come see our family at Hope House—better yet, donate some diapers or food, then stay to chat with our family.

I’ve got to go—someone wants to play musical chairs!