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Anawim Christian Community is a community church made up of the homeless and the mentally ill. Our main goal is to provide for people's needs (including the need to be a disciple of Jesus) where they are at. We don't feel that a person needs to be something different before they get the help they need. Our center is in Gresham OR, which is where we lead and organize day shelters and a worship service. We also have a community house in N. Portland where housing is being provided for a few people and opportunities for community worship. We are connected to ministries in SE Portland and St. Johns, where we distribute food and clothing. And finally, through the internet, we educate people from almost every country in the world about homelessness, mental illness and the Christian response to each.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Help For the Needy

Most people don’t know that we live in a third world country.
I don’t mean that ALL of the United States is the third world. But there is a third world section of our nation. We have people who live in slums, in desperate poverty, without adequate shelter or food. There are people who starve in our country, people who freeze to death, and people who live in tents. And on occasion people who live this way need help to live. Sometimes people need food to live to next week. Sometimes people need shelter so they don’t freeze to death. It would be better if they had the means to take care of this themselves, but sometimes relief work has to happen to save lives.
Right now, Anawim is providing a lot of food to those who otherwise might not have it. And we are providing clothes, sleeping bags and tents, to those who have no other means to get it. We really would like to provide a means for people to help themselves, and in time we will. But in the meantime, sometimes lives must be saved.
I was concerned the other night when there was freezing rain. We had two sixteen year old girls in our facility and the city was talking about shutting us down. The last thing I wanted to do was to send those two girls out in the freezing rain to fend for themselves. They didn’t shut us down that night and we were able to help them.
But there were other nights we weren’t able to help. We had freezing temperatures and we weren’t able to open overnight because we didn’t have enough volunteers to help. We had people with not enough clothes because we didn’t have enough people to sort what we already had. We also had volunteers losing sleep (literally) because we didn’t have enough volunteers to share the load equally.
I guess what I’m saying is that we could use some help. Live, in person help.
Below is a list of areas we could use some volunteer work. If you could help in any of these areas, if you are local and think you can do this, please do. 
Lives are at stake.  Please, this is serious.
by Steve Kimes

"There is no greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends."
                                                                              ~John 15:13

Night Shelters

In the Portland area, it has been a cold, long winter. Since late November, there have been more freezing nights than is usual. For those of you in other parts of the country, you may be saying, “It’s been below freezing all winter for us!” But since here in the Willamette Valley we are used to milder temperatures, most people are not prepared for a more severe winter. And if the homeless and homeless services are not prepared, then there are the possibilities of hypothermia, and even death due to being unprepared in the cold. Anawim has tried to be prepared. Since Thanksgiving, Anawim in Gresham has opened for 13 nights to allow people on the street to get out of the freezing, windy weather to stay in the warmth and safety of our Sanctuary’s fellowship hall. SE Anawim has been open 5 nights in our facility in Portland. There are already city shelters in Portland and Gresham and they are very helpful in saving lives in the most severe weather conditions. However, if, say in Gresham, there is a night that is 27 degrees with a 10 mph wind, the city won’t open their shelters, even if there is the possibility of snow. We opened our shelters with the idea that we would keep the homeless safe from the worst weather, only when the city shelters weren't open.

Recently the city discovered that we were opening our Gresham shelter (which we called the Gresham Underground Emergency Shelter, or GUESs), and the Fire Marshal came to visit. The fire code in Gresham, currently, has a few requirements that we have difficulty meeting for a shelter, such as a sprinkler system with a central alarm, and a limitation of 200 square feet per person. They gave us a one night leave so no one would have to sleep out in the freezing rain and then came the next day and shut us down, until we are able to work with the city.

Now we have a quandary. If we accept all the city’s limitations we would not be able to open on some of the nights of the worst weather. Since we have a requirement from the Lord to love the needy, especially those of our own group, then I have a hard time telling our folks to go out in the snow or freezing temperatures when we have the capacity to help them. Or we could try to meet all the fire code and then we have the freedom to help maybe 15 people in our building (we’ve been hosting as many as 30). Please pray as we work with the city and do our best to love our brothers.

How Can I Volunteer?

~Help to establish a system for Anawim’s accounts

~Wash blankets for overnight shelter

~Stay awake for a six hour shift for the overnight shelter in various churches in Gresham and SE Portland.

~Pick up donations

~Sort donations

~To be friends with the homeless and mentally ill who come to our day shelters ( see..”Did you Know?”)

~Offer paid work to the homeless, even for a half day.

~Volunteer in a community garden this spring

~Help those missing id to go through the bureaucratic hoops to obtain it

~Develop a website which networks all the help agencies of East County

~Help Anawim communicate to the community about the need to not be prejudiced against the homeless

~Pray for Anawim members and staff.

Did You Know?

* That you can get 40 hand warmers for only 15 dollars at Costco?
A single hand warmer can keep a person warm for a whole night in the bitter cold.

* That a pair of new, dry socks can improve a homeless person’s outlook on life?

* That a bike trailer, capable of carrying 200 lbs, can be built for only $30?,-$30-for-pa/ 

* That approximately 30 people in Anawim are missing all of their id, making it impossible to get jobs,
medical insurance or to even apply for social security?

* That one of the great causes of homelessness and severe mental illness is the lack of a supportive social network?

Current Needs


* Volunteers
* Hand Warmers
* Sleeping bags
* Rain boots, coats, pants (L/XL)
* Backpacks
* Tents
* Warm gloves
* Coats
* Men's Pants (30-38”waist, preferably jeans)
* Shirts
* Underwear/boxers
* Socks
* Thick Ponchos (preferably dark colors)
* Hats and Gloves
* Long underwear
* Dog food/Cat food
* Toilet paper
* Hand sanitizer (sm. Bottles)
* Hand wipes (packs)
* Razors
* Shampoo/Conditioner
* Body wash
* Foot powder
* Tums/Alka-Seltzer
* Cold/Decongestant meds
* First Aid supplies
* Tampons

* 5 seater truck for Pastor Jeff and Yvan
* 1 Stove-top/Oven
* Large soup pot (w/ thick bottom)

Prayer Requests

* Pray for our connection to the city for the overnight shelter.

* Pray for all those on the street looking for work, that hearts would be open to giving them jobs.
* Pray for peace at all the day shelters and overnight shelters.
* Pray for Mark and Leanne, frequent volunteers, who are having family struggles.
* Pray for our members who are mentally ill that they might be delivered by God’s Spirit.

"Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him,"Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  ~James 2:15-17

Thank Yous (aka the Academy Awards)

~Thanks to our ministry partner churches in East County: St. Henry’s, First Baptist, Easthill Four Square, Mountainview and Abundant Life.  Thank you all for your generosity, your open doors and your    wonderful, generous volunteers! 

~Thanks to Ellisha and her friends who generously provided clothes, gloves and two brand new stove/ovens for our SE location

~Thanks to all our financial donors.  Our financial needs have grown tremendously in the last six months and you have kept up with it!  Your generosity and obedience to God’s Spirit is amazing!

~Thanks to Portland Mennonite, St. Joseph’s, Agape Church of Christ, Elisha and others who have been   faithful in providing meals and serving every month all this year!

~Thanks to East County Church of Christ who gave specifically requested Christmas presents to 20 street folks.  And to Portland church of Christ for organizing it - and for painting our SE meeting gym!

~Thanks to all our wonderful regular volunteers, both from churches and on (or just off) the street:  Linda and Jimmy, Tim and Samantha (and Paloma), Mark and Leanne, Styxx, Mary Lafferty, Cheryl, Clay, Virgil, Steven, Travis, Dano, Mike (all of them), Sami, Nick, and many, many more.

~Thanks to Duncan, Iris, Barb and the PNMC for helping us with the Peace/Sanctuary campus.

~Thanks to Diane for providing wonderful meals every Sunday, and Jeff every Tuesday!

~Thanks to The Chapel for providing our first ever benefit concert.

~Thanks to Portland media outlets who have allowed the message of Anawim to be known throughout the county!

~Thanks to Laura and Susan for being on the spot health care workers!

~Thanks to Jeff and Yvan Strong who have taken on the mantle/burden of full time workers at Anawim (even without payment!).

There are many we haven’t mentioned and we should have.  We apologize and hope you know that we really do appreciate all you’ve done and so do our folks.  Honestly, this has been our best year ever, and more people have been served, more needs have been met, more lives changed than ever before.  Thank you all so much!