Our Ministry served about 63 homeless on the streets of MidTown Manhattan on the night of Wednesday, April 19th. Thank you to all those who volunteered your time, food, money, clothing, toiletries, and prayers. We had such a good response from our congregation we actually had to put in reserve some street volunteers, transport drivers, and meal making families! THANK YOU ALL.
We PACKED the Bridges van to capacity and were able to give out more than just lunches and toiletry kits. We also distributed feminine hygiene supplies, crew socks and underwear by various sizes, and the sturdy shopping bags that you all donated (please continue to donate any reusable shopping bags you don't need). We also served the famous Bridges soup and hot chocolate. Members of the congregation dropped off boots, sleeping bags and clothing which we delivered to the Bridges basement sorting facility. Plus they got an experienced and enthusiastic Street Crew for the night. Patrick, the Bridges Volunteer Coordinator, said to me when we arrived at Summit "I love when you guys do a Run." I told him its a congregation-wide effort to make each Run happen with such high quality.
Our next Bridges Runs are scheduled for:
WED APRIL 19: is the date for next Bridges Ministry outreach. We will meet at the Church at 5PM and return home at 9:30. We all ride in the Bridges Van from Summit to Madison Square Gar-den / Penn Station, and serve behind tables. The direct joy and relief you bring to those struggling is worth the trip.
Any old but clean/usable sleeping bags and footwear/boots for street life always welcomed. We always are in need of SMALL shaving cream, deodorants, toothpaste, and razors, too!
Signups will be at Coffee Hour for the next 3 Sundays - April 2nd, 9th, &16th. Come join us! Those who go find it extremely rewarding.
Happy New Year from the DCC Bridges Ministry!
I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. The Holidays are not a joyous time for everyone. Most served by our ministry are alone in the world. Some suffer mental illness. Some became addicted to the vices in our culture (drugs, alcohol, gambling). Others have lost their jobs and have no familial “launch pad” to get back on their feet. Some we serve are disabled or elderly. For these “just go get a job” is not an option yet – or ever. Our country does not provide an adequate level of support and assistance like other developed nations. That’s where charities like Bridges, Inc. comes in through their outreach centers and “runs.” It is challenging to “teach someone to fish” when they are cold or hungry. Some we serve do work, or live on social security. Do I pay for food, rent, or utilities this month? That is where DCC helps Bridges.
In that spirit I want to let you know that the kindness and generosity of your time, donations, and prayers in December made a difference in people’s lives that will carry through this winter. We started the month with a generous endowment of $3,000 from our Annual Auction, followed by other donations. We made two trips to Walmart and bought 50 pairs of boots. Bridges’ stock was depleted, so we drove them down to be handed out as needed this winter. We also presented Bridges with a check for $1000. We then purchased for the Christmas Eve Newark Run 250 pairs of assorted size underwear on EBay, 600 pairs of hand warmers on Amazon, 150 pairs of heavy wool blend socks at Costco, a few toys, and some storage containers to keep things dry and manageable.
Your involvement was essential for our Run. A dozen families made bagged meals. Our Youth Group bagged, labeled, and sorted all the underwear into 7 bins. Our Coffee Hour congregation unpacked and rolled socks and assembled toiletry kits. Pastor Ed’s sister crocheted hats and scarves, and we combined this with a generous donation of blankets from Dick and Mary Beth Young and anonymous others. We also brought along donations of boots, clothing, sleeping bags, toys, and reusable shopping bags.
A note on Dick and Mary Beth. When they heard the night before the Run that we would not have enough reusable shopping bags to hand out to everyone (I hold back an item until I reach 150) they ran out to Shopright and filled in the remaining quota. This was invaluable because of all the product we handed out on Christmas Eve. I remember helping an older disabled man easily strap the shopping bag to his wheelchair’s headrest.
Our Christmas Eve “cold and wet” crew consisted of 4 supply drivers and 10 on the street. We have never packed so much stuff in the Bridges Van! Our brothers and sisters were elated to receive multiple meals, as many restaurants (surplus donations) and food pantries are closed on Christmas weekend and Monday. Everyone also received up to 8 pairs of hand warmers, multiple pairs of socks and underwear, toiletry kits, blankets or hats, soup, hot cocoa, oranges, fem hygiene kits, and a sturdy bag to carry it all. Jen Bridi overheard an older couple comment to each other “look at all the stuff we can bring home to the kids!” Any remaining socks, blankets, and hand warmers were donated to Bridges for January distribution.
Our next Run is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29 into NYC. Any monetary donations will be used to purchase crew socks, additional underwear, and toiletry items. Goods donations currently accepted include: travel size deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and lotions or shave cream (please no soap or shampoo). For all other goods donations please seek out our Second Sunday or Interfaith Homeless ministries or other community outreach groups, until we get closer to the Run.
May God bless you all for your time, donations, and prayers.
Ted & Travis