The Community Resource Exchange on April 6, 2016, had over 1,000 guests connect with numerous services and gain access to important items. Approximately 200 of those guests came through the foot washing and foot care area organized by Church of the Redeemer. The Community Resource Exchange is sponsored by United Way of King County, Washington.
There were several repeat guests this year for foot washing and foot care. This included a few that made their way directly over in the morning, saying that they have been looking forward to coming back all year.
Not all foot washing volunteers are members of Church of the Redeemer. In addition to others from the area helping, it was wonderful to have six new volunteers spontaneously jump in at the event to help wash feet and manage the wait line. The new volunteer’s extra help made it a controlled, happy chaos.
A team of five provided advanced foot care this year.
New this year were mini-foot care kits. They were a huge hit. The kits included wash cloths, lotion, foot powder, emery boards, and nail clippers. In addition to our usual socks, we gave out 200 of the new kits. The hope is to double that number next year.
In the afternoon our volunteers walked through the larger facility and passed out the foot care kits, inviting people over to the foot care are. Several expressed that foot washing was outside their comfort level, but appreciated the invitation and especially loved the care kits.
When driving out at end of the day of the delivery exit at Century Link, a crowd of 20 or so gathered and shouted to each driver, “Thank you! Live United!” That is a good reminder and goal until next time.
One volunteer’s memory of the day
Marsha Christenesen’s best memory of the day is a young man who is very proud of his Latino heritage and has the ink to prove it. He had a Mayan calendar and a fierce warrior on his chest.
He has been outside for several years, off and on. In the Seattle and Portland areas, he has worked as a male stripper and other temporary jobs. He claims to be in a gang, for his own safety. Most touching is his belief that he will someday graduate from medical school or earn a PhD. Marsha said that she wished him all good things as he went on his way.
Future of the Foot Washing Ministry
Organizing foot washing at the Community Resource Exchange each year has fallen upon Emily Austin at Church of the Redeemer. There is an idea is to form a board of directors to share planning and tasks for the foot washing ministry.
Members of this board would likely attend two to three planning meetings per year, probably over refreshments. Let Emily Austin know if serving on such a board is of interest to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Resource Exchange of United Way of King County
The Community Resource Exchange shows we care. It’s a day that connects people experiencing homelessness with important resources like a dental check, new shoes, a meal and more.
The bigger hope for the day was to change the way people view homelessness: to challenge the misconceptions and to see the other side, the human side, of the story. A day where people who are homeless know others really care about them, care about their story and about helping them.
For more information, visit United Way of King County Community Resource Exchange.
Church of the Redeemer
Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. We are a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.
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