EVERETT — Doing the Lord’s work can be difficult some days, when there seems to be no end to the number of people who need food, shelter, medicine, even just a kind smile.
But it’s on those days, said Andrea Reedy, a Salvation Army minister, when God sends her a message, like the one she received on a recent Christmas Eve. She had handed a bag of food to a mother and her young son, who said something to his mom as the pair left.
“It was in Spanish, so I didn’t understand it,” Reedy said.
A Salvation Army volunteer who spoke Spanish heard it, too, and told her what the boy said.
“He said, ‘Mom, does this mean that we’re not having just rice and beans for dinner,’” Reedy said.
The story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
“We do as much as we can” for people in need, said Reedy’s husband, Jeremy.
The Reedys took over the Salvation Army’s Everett post in late June. They run the church’s office, minister to its small but growing congregation and oversee one of the Salvation Army’s busiest social services program in Washington.
The post’s former directors, Maj. Jonathan and Lt. Dawn Apuan, were appointed to the church’s Seattle post by the Salvation Army Northwest Division.
True to its name, the Protestant denomination does not have priests or pastors. It is led by officers. Its members are soldiers battling hunger, poverty and other human needs. They aim to provide for people’s physical and spiritual needs.
Lts. Andrea and Jeremy Reedy came to Everett from Tacoma and, before that, Great Falls, Montana. In both posts, they served as assistant ministers. The couple are both in their mid-30s and have four children. They did not become Salvation Army officers until 2012, when they moved from Spokane to Rancho Palos Verdes, California, home of the Salvation Army Officer Training College. They spent two years in training.
Both said they were drawn to serve from a young age.
The couple think of their work as being the “hands and feet of Jesus,” Andrea said. “When he was here, he fed the hungry and clothed the naked.”
The need is great in Everett. The church’s post feeds about 80 people two nights a week at its building just north of downtown. Its food bank provides hundreds of meals each week. Managing public housing, providing childcare for Narcotics Anonymous meetings and giving school supplies to families with thin wallets are just a few of the programs the Reedys oversee.
It is family work. They have two boys — ages 15 and 14 — and two girls — 10 and 9.
“They are here most days,” Jeremy said. “It’s not like they don’t see the ugliness of poverty” and how to help.
In late July, donation bins are scheduled to be set out at local Fred Meyer stores to collect school supplies.