Jacob's Well: In the midst of challenges, a profound movement of generosity in the community

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

By Rev. Erika Haub, Shoreline Covenant Church

The last two years have been hard for a lot of people in Shoreline. Many have endured job loss; people have lost their houses; couples are down to one income and barely making their mortgage payments.

But in the midst of these challenges, we have seen a profound movement of generosity here in Shoreline. Beginning the first Saturday of April, close to 200 volunteers will arrive on a construction site in Shoreline to begin framing the buildings that make up Jacob’s Well: a Vision House transitional housing development for homeless women and children. These volunteers come from the many churches and faith communities represented in Shoreline from Pentecostals to Greek Orthodox, as well as from businesses and soccer teams and schools. Together, this army of volunteers will participate in what a staff member from Habitat for Humanity has called “the largest volunteer driven build that has been done in our community…Not even Habitat takes on projects this large.”

Vision House operates with a program model of building debt-free. This means that construction only happens after money is raised, and is only made possible through the many volunteers who will come and labor every Saturday during the month of April. It is an “Extreme Makeover” without the giant bus, and when that first wall is ceremoniously raised on April 2nd at 9am, the cheers of the volunteers who have worked so hard to even get to this point will certainly be heard.

Churches in Shoreline have been a driving force behind this project. Benefit concerts, auctions, special offerings, and even the women of one church (Shoreline Covenant Church) sleeping in their parking lot on 185th in tents to help raise awareness and funds for this project are just some of the ways the community has stood behind this effort. Children have collected their pennies to help buy boards, and churches whose own budgets have been trimmed this past year have seen members give generously and sacrificially to see this project succeed.

In a time of so much scarcity and cutback, it is a testimony to the kind of heart the Shoreline community has for the most vulnerable among us: women and children fleeing abuse, living in poverty, desperately seeking to rebuild their lives.

I am a pastor here in Shoreline, and my daughter presented me with a gift-wrapped package on Sunday. Inside are all of the coins she could fit in the paper, and she told me that it is a gift for Jacob’s Well. Even a six-year old can understand the impact of “building hope, one board at a time.” It brings me deep satisfaction and joy to know that the gifts of my six year old are helping to make a way in the future for another child living without basic provision and stability to have a home and to have hope for her future.

For more information or to volunteer, go the webpage NoHomelessKids


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