The St. Mark’s congregation provides many services for our local neighborhood and for world relief through ELCA.
• For the 11 past years, St. Mark’s has given out food boxes at its food pantry. We’ve served thousands of people, currently about 150 families per month.
• For the past 10 years, we’ve given out Oregon Food Bank provided food to families at Community Basket. About 80 families show up each month.
• The Clothing Closet has been here since 2012 and gives out clothing to approximately 25-35 families each month. That helps 75-85 children per month.
• We prepare filled back packs and quilts to send to Lutheran World Relief.
• Our giving tree during the Holidays provides many warm hats and scarves as well as personal hygiene items for the pantry families.
As time, finances and energy allow, we do a lot to help people.
I’d like to suggest that we keep doing these services, with additional help from members and friends. They are very important services that make lives easier and healthier for many families.
However, I see these as “band-aids.” How can we help solve some of the problems faced by people?
We’ve purchased parts of wells through ELCA. This is an example of changing conditions that will improve lives. Many members of the St. Mark’s congregation have made phone calls to legislators and attended City Council meetings to encourage them to do more to help people facing housing challenges.
In September 2016, six of us attended an Affordable Housing Assembly sponsored by the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG). We got to hear stories directly from people who have faced dramatic challenges in getting and keeping stable housing. We learned about the negative effects of unstable housing on health, education and employment.
My challenge for all of us is to be willing to become more aware of issues many families (probably some of us!) are facing. Fixed incomes, low incomes, high cost of child care and elder care, rising prices of health care and housing. These are just some of the issues.
Let’s put our heads together and look at our mission in sharing God’s love, God’s Word and our resources to make changes in society that will help SOLVE problems.
- Mary Karter