“Have Building, Have People, Will Help”—Church Loving the 253 through COVID-19 Crisis
A South Puget Sound church based in University Place, Washington, is using every resource its team can think of to meet community needs connected to the COVID-19 outbreak. Beginning this weekend, one-year-old OURCHURC H will use its location at 5000 67th Ave. W. and partner with nonprofit, civic, and small business organizations to host an emergency blood drive Friday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; distribute non-perishable food items on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; partner with Senior Services of Tacoma and the Tacoma Urban League to deliver groceries to seniors everySaturday; and host “drive-in church” Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12 p.m.; and send an ice cream truck to a different Pierce County neighborhood each day to distribute free ice cream to children.
With its large auditorium, Monarch Theatre, in the midst of a remodel, the church halted construction and invited Bloodworks Northwest to use the building for ablood drive on Friday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Due to school closures and many businesses asking employees to work from home, blood drives are being canceled throughout the state,” explained OURCHURCHexe cutive pastor Melanie Grassi-Wood. “Bloodworks Northwest plans to use our building multiple times throughout this crisis. Friday is just the beginning.” Appointments are needed to donate, and can be scheduled at schedule.bloodworksnw.org, by calling 800-398-7888, or by texting bloodapp to 91985.
The public is invited to drop off donations of non-perishable food items to the church’s food bank on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; or at any weekend experience (Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12 p.m.). Donations will be unloaded from cars in the parking lot by volunteers. Distribution will take place on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and will also be drive-up; requested items will be loaded into cars by volunteers. “Distribution is ‘no questions asked,’” said Grassi-Wood. “No proof of need is required.”
In support of the governor’s request that adults older than sixty years old stay home as much as possible, OURCHURCH is partnering with Senior Services of Tacoma and the Tacoma Urban League to deliver groceries to seniors on Saturdays. Seniors in need of grocery delivery or volunteers who would like to help deliver groceries may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the governor’s latest requests for social distancing and limited gathering, OURCHURCH will host “drive-in church” in its parking lot beginning this weekend: Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12 p.m. Church leaders will lead each experience, including music and a message, from the roof of the church building; attendees can watch from their cars and listen via their car radios. An online experience will also be available for children to watch on a device in the car. “It’ll get us out of the house and into a spirit of gratitude,” said church leadership in an email. The church will also offer an online video experience for those who choose to stay home.
Lastly, the church is sponsoring daily ice cream distribution by Tacoma Ice Cream Company to children in varied neighborhoods throughout Pierce County. “We love kids,” said children’s pastor Tait Stocking. “This is a tough season for them. We just want to surprise them with a treat and hopefully bring a little fun to their day.”
“We’ve got a building. We’ve got people,” said Grassi-Wood. “Whatever needs we can meet with those resources, we want to meet. In the words of Mother Teresa, ‘There are no great things, only small things with great love.’”
OURCHURCH is a nondenominational community committed to bringing the spirit of Jesus to people throughout the 253 and around the world. For more information, visit ourchurch253.com or follow @ourchurch253 on Instagram.