The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

Oregon churches find new ways to help local needy

July 30, 2009

94% of Oregon churches provide resources to assist people who lack basic necessities.
By Betsy Maynard,
Oregon Family Council

Times of economic hardship tend to encourage creativity.  West Salem Foursquare Church is working to creatively partner with social organizations to meet needs they see around Salem.  This is not new for the church – helping people with practical needs is an emphasis of church life that dates to the earliest days of Christianity.

In 2004, the church also founded an Adopt-A-Block program called the Dream Center, with the motto of “Love them until they ask why.”  Through the Dream Center church members visit certain blocks every Saturday, helping with neighborhood cleanups, and practical needs.  When they realized that many on their adopted blocks lacked adequate primary and preventative healthcare, the church began a twice a month medical clinic at a local school.  Through a working relationship with Walker Middle School, church members also offer a variety of youth activities at the school on Saturday mornings.

A group of West Salem Foursquare members wanted to do what they could to help the consistently homeless and mentally ill they saw in their neighborhoods.  Focusing their efforts on Marion Square Park, the church’s James Ministry provides survival gear, clean socks, resource guides, and meals to hundreds of individuals.

These kinds of practical assistance to people in need are a regular part of Oregon church life.  In research recently conducted by the Oregon Family Council Education Foundation, it was found that 94% of Oregon churches offer help to people in need.

In many instances, churches work in partnership with other community or government agencies to help meet needs.  Members of New Song Community Church in Medford help organize and staff church services at the Jackson County Jail to help inmates develop a connection to God and their community.

New Song Community Church also provides a complete and nutritious breakfast to underprivileged individuals and families every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Along with the meal, they present a five-minute inspirational thought for the day and strive to give each individual attending the meal the “respect and dignity that they deserve.”  Members of the congregation are active in youth mentoring and every Christmas the church delivers boxes of food to families who might not otherwise have a holiday dinner.

These churches are just two of the 94% of Oregon churches who creatively address the needs of individuals and families in their community.  Many churches offer food assistance, clothing, temporary housing and emergency financial assistance to cover utilities or rent. Survey respondents also listed a variety of other examples of practical help, including assisting single parents with oil changes and vehicle repairs, providing Christmas gifts or school supplies for underprivileged children and assisting the families of deployed soldiers with yard and home maintenance.
Oregon churches are good neighbors – looking out for both the spiritual, and the practical needs of those in their community.

– This spring, the Oregon Family Council Education Foundation conducted a research survey to learn more about how churches are involved in lives of those in their congregations, and the wider community.  You’ll find the introduction here.

– Want to see the complete survey results today? Visit Oregon Family Council

  
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Discuss this article

Dorothy July 30, 2009

The Bible does tell us to take care of our own. Hats off to all who are doing what they can, no matter how much.

Jan July 30, 2009

How many of these churches receive state and/or federal funding for their good works? I have no problem with churches and charities using their own funds to provide the extra services that government cannot, but I strongly object to churches receiving government funding of any kind to fulfill their religious outreach. No non profit should receive government funding. Charities have tax exemptions and are free to raise as much funding as they can. We do not have a charity tax and no tax dollars should fund charity.

Tamara Fish December 19, 2009

Hi my name is Tamara, my friend is a single mother of a 4 year old daughter with autism and she lives 6 miles outta Medford she just told me that she doesn’t have a christmas tree or any presents!!!!! If anyone knows of anywhere that could help her out please email me at star4u24_7@yahoo.com i live in Boston, ma thank you so much!!! sincerly yours, santas lil helper :)

connie September 20, 2010

I live in Fla; and my daughter lives in Mcminnville Oregon. I cry and pray for her because she don’t even have enough money to pay a $39 light bill. Its a shame she can’t get help. I’m so worried.

dianne king October 29, 2010

my name is dianne king my mom tracy was in a car accident and they put her on a leave of absents at work our manager told my mom if we dont pay rent by the 15th of november 2010 we will be on the streets i have called everyone i can includeing my own church and they cant help she probably cant go back to work for another month we were all doing so well and one crash and it messes everything up i noGod has a plan but i have been homless befor i have a twwelve year old sister and i have a daughter my hands are tied my mom is calliong everyone and no one can help i am soo stressed out these kids dont deserve to go homeless she can go back to work in a month that wont help us now if anyone can help i pray our number 5039543198

sarah December 21, 2011

hello im a single mom of five,i live in west salem area although i might be asking for help a little late, im very low income and cant afford christmas gifts for my children this year, can anyone help? thank u so very much and god bless u all.

casey confer December 18, 2012

I and my family are in need of help we can not even make christmas for are kid or pay are rent for this month. I have lost my job and my wife got layed off the 1st of this month. I have ask ever where i can here in are town for help and all i get is we can not help cuz we do not have the funs. If any one out there can help or now where i can get help i would very greatful of it. you can email me at casey_confer35@yahoo.com. This is not a scam my family and i are in great need we have three kids 2 that are 10 years old and a 10 month old baby boy. please help

Ryan G September 13, 2013

My name is Ryan. I have a 12 year old son. I lost my job a little over a month ago and am having a hard time at the moment. Unemployment has yet to come through and I just got on food stamps and SNAP. I have never had to do this before in my 49 years. If this is the way to contact someone who may be able to help. I hope it works. I have a 72 hour eviction notice and need about 450 dollars to cover the rest of the rent. I am looking for work, but so far nothing in my line of skills is available. Please help if you can. I have been clling and talking to a multiple number of organizations that have all not been able to help. Lack of funding, closed programs and fnding being dried up for the month.

Thank you,
Ryan G.

Kim R December 17, 2013

We are located in Eugene, Oregon. I have worked my entire life. Sometimes three jobs at one time. This year has become more difficult with each passing month to pay bills. I have two teenage foster girls, a preteen boy and a ten year old girl. I desperately need help with Christmas gifts. Panic has set in due to my few clients, not being able to pay me until close to the middle or end of January. (self-employed). I have always been on the giving end and typically can donate gifts to people asking on Craig’s List, but this year, I find myself in a place I couldn’t imagine. I would so appreciate any help for gifts, or where to go for help. I didn’t think of Toy’s for Tots and am at a loss as to where or what you do. (we missed the giveaway). Thank you and hope everyone is having a great week. Blessings!!!!

Tricia February 25, 2014

I’m a single mom of a 14 year old boy. I lost my job due to a surgery and I’m getting back on my feet again. I cannot make our rent of $895 this month and fear we will be homeless. Every agency has no funding and says to call back next month. I don;t know what to do. I have never seen my son cry before and this is awful. If anyone can help I would be grateful and I can work. God there has to be someone out there.
503-602-5577

REV.michale a kester May 22, 2014

can your church help us with are missoin http://www.upperroommission.com by giveing 1.00 a mouth.thank you REV.michae.kester.

REV.michale a kester May 22, 2014

can your church help with are mission http://www.upperroommission.com by giveing 1.00 a mouth.thank you.REV.michale.kester.

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