Church members lend a hand to give out 200 holiday meals

  • By Katie Murdoch Enterprise editor
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2010 6:36pm

MILL CREEK — Members of Advent Lutheran Church in Mill Creek are helping to make some Snohomish County families’ season a little brighter.

More than 175 volunteers will fill and deliver 200 grocery bags full of ingredients for a traditional holiday dinner to families in need.

Church members have organized the Holiday Food Basket Program for more than 15 years. This year’s event will take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 18 at the church, located at 4306 132nd St. SE, Mill Creek. Volunteers expect to give away 3,000 pounds of turkey, 1,000 pounds of apples and potatoes, 200 gallons of milk and 175 pounds of cranberry sauce.

“Our Fellowship Hall turns into a Costco,” Pastor Kevin Bates quipped.

On a serious note, Bates said volunteers have carried on the Food Basket Program for more than a decade because their neighbors are in need and it presents an opportunity to give. There are likely many more people in need, he added.

“Many people fall through the cracks and we don’t know about their needs,” he said. “Our neighbors’ needs are sometimes hard to see.”

Families in need were identified with help from the Volunteers of America, which received applications and sussed out which families who would benefit from the program. Some families have called the church directly and asked for help to feed their families for the holidays. Of the 200 bags, 23 will go toward helping women who have recently left violent domestic situations.

Program coordinator Carolyn Johnson said when people ask the church for assistance, they don’t interrogate them about their financial situation or try to make them feel worse.

“We’re not too stringent,” Johnson said. “If people ask for help, we’re not going to ask too many questions.”

The bags will be delivered to 200 families throughout Snohomish County, including Lynnwood, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens and Granite Falls.

“There’s just so many people who need help, and we have the ability to help out,” Johnson said.

Church members raised $10,000 through donations from church members to provide food baskets, with a small amount coming from matching funds. Additional assistance came from sponsors including Central Market, Lowes and Starbucks.

Johnson said she welcomes neighboring churches to approach Advent Lutheran Church members to hear how they got started or work together next year on the program.

“We started with a small-scale event and it built up,” she said. “It gets better every year.”

Bates said he encourages his parishioners to live life connected to their neighbors and help those in need.

“Everybody needs care sometimes and we’re happy to be among those who provide care,” he said.

Talk to us