Gifting More Than Food at Spokane’s Better Living Center

February 02, 2017 | Kathy Marson

What happens when you see a need and decide to fill it? Jane Williams, board member of the Better Living Center (BLC) in Spokane, Wash., decided to find out.

The BLC runs a food bank that serves some of the neediest families in Spokane County. Williams saw a community need for more than food. She invited her local Linwood Church family to help provide Christmas presents for the children of the families who come to the BLC for food.

These church members raised well over $2,000 to purchase nearly 400 gifts. They spent hours wrapping and many, many hours shopping. “Jane shopped late at night to avoid the crowds,” says Gayle Haeger, urban ministries coordinator for Spokane.

As moms and dads came into the BLC for food, gifts were given to them for their children. The beautifully wrapped gifts were organized into age groups so appropriate gifts were given to each family.

One mother of four children was appreciative to the point of tears. “We’ve been struggling so hard, and this will make such a difference,” she told the staff.

When Patty Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference community services director, heard about the Christmas presents, she said, “I love the synergy behind this story — the BLC working hard to fill hungry stomachs, and quietly Linwood supporters lift this ministry in a totally unexpected way filling grieving hearts. It's warmed my heart all morning.”

Thank you to the many volunteers and donors who made these Christmas gifts possible. And may we say, as Marsh said, “I'm praying the spirit of love behind these gifts will be felt in the hearts of those receiving.” And may this generous spirit domino into even more avenues to share the love of Jesus with others this year.