“Having the vision to “see the need” has been with me since childhood.
My childhood church in Portland, Oregon was a host site of an interfaith program called Snowcap Community Charities, which is still there today. They collected food and clothing to distribute, as well as other help for people in need. I still remember the big Snowcap barrel right in the narthex when you walked into the church. Everyone would bring in cans or coats. Our pastor’s son used to say that he never knew if his coat would be hanging in his closet, because if his father saw a child who needed it, it would go into the barrel.
Once when I was helping out, my job was to put “Hunger Around the World” placemats on the table. I read about the tens of thousands of children who were dying of hunger worldwide, and I just couldn’t get over. I still can’t. The incomprehensible truth that this was happening left a sore spot in my heart that never left me, and it still makes me emotional. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to get involved. For me, seeing the numbers of how many were hurting, made the problem seem insurmountable. If I couldn’t solve it - how could I make a difference?
As an adult, when my family started attending The First Baptist Church in Essex, I became aware of SSKP. Shoreline Soup Kitchens is so integrated into their community. My very first connection was helping with the spring Postal Food Drive. Hundreds of pounds of food was brought to the church to be sorted and boxed up. Then my husband Scott and I started volunteering at the Monday meal site at Essex Baptist. For a while Scott was the Site Coordinator, too. Whenever a team needed help, we’d fill in. We also helped with the bread pick up at Colonial Market. After I was called to be the pastor at Winthrop Baptist Church, I became a member of the SSKP Board. I have a history of being involved, but I know there’s no one person that does it all.
Part of my passion is the awareness of the interconnectedness of everything. When ALICE is in need - I feel it. It hurts me if someone else is hurting. The more I do to help another person, the more I heal myself, and the more the world can heal. That connection we all have to each other is something not everyone recognizes, but the small things we do all have an effect, here and across the world.
SSKP is, for me, a beautiful expression of what we can accomplish when we work together. Because of all the volunteers, staff, and community support so many folks know where their next meal will come from. I am grateful for this organization that seeks to meet basic needs.”