There are so many needs
Our Social Concerns committee is a volunteer-based outreach effort to bring the grace of Christ to others. This committee’s purpose is to increase the congregation’s awareness of the needs of our church members, our community, and our world, and establish congregation-supported programs to address some of these needs.
Our regular annual programs include the following:
- Thanksgiving Food Baskets – This program provides nutritious food to 70 area families – see more details on this program below.
- Homeless Youth Winter Needs – In January, the SOV community donates new items including hand warmers, hats, gloves, and sleeping bags, beef jerky single packs, socks and women’s new sports bras to local agencies serving the homeless as well as vulnerable families and youth.
- Brighter Summers – This program provides assistance to vulnerable families and children served by local agencies. The funds we raise help provide homeless youth with much-needed items like solar powered rechargers, and help provide vulnerable families mercy provisions like sewing kits, diapers, baby wipes, baby butt balm, and fun things like games, puzzles, bubbles, and chalk.
- Easter Baskets – This program provides baskets filled with personal care products, games, and books to vulnerable families and children.
Shepherd of the Valley partners with local agencies that serve vulnerable families and youth, including the following: Home Plate Youth Services, Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange for Women and their Children program, and LifeWorks NW – Healthy Families.
2020 – A Year in Crisis
In addition to our regular annual activities, we provide support as needs are identified. In 2020, our community has faced many challenges; in response, the social concerns committee has taken the following actions:
- Victims of Covid-19 Restrictions – We’ve been providing emergency assistance to households in severely impacted by COVID-19 circumstances, leveraging grant money donated from our partners at Union Gospel Mission via Their Good Neighbor Grants.
- Wildfire Relief Response – We used donations and Thrivent Grant money in missions of mercy to victims of the region’s recent devastating wildfires. Some families were supported in cooperation with ZOAR Lutheran Church in Canby, Oregon. We also completed an auction for two wonderful, handmade quilts, raising additional funds for wildfire relief.
- Food donations – During this time of crisis, we have collected and distributing a limited amount of food for food boxes on an emergency basis.
- International outreach for 2020/2021: Mission to the Blind India – SOV is supporting an international organization headquartered in the Chennai area of India. Several members of our congregation have had the opportunity to visit the vocational school for the blind and visually impaired and reported the agency is doing great things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Mission to the Blind” is a Christian movement started in 1992 by the Late Mr. Sam R Thanaseelan and Mrs. Jeya Thanaseelan with a vision to bring visually challenged people into the mainstream of Church and Society.
- Thanking our behind the scenes helpers – We prepared and gave 12 “Recognizing You” gift baskets to SOV members who are often silently supporting others in our community.
Thanksgiving Food Baskets – additional details
Each year Shepherd of the Valley volunteers prepare and distribute Thanksgiving Food Baskets for local Hillsboro/Beaverton families in need as identified by SOV or LifeWorks NW. Typically we have about 25 volunteers (including our youth) who over the course of a weekend prepare boxes filled with turkey, fresh vegetables, milk, eggs, stuffing, rolls, pie, rice, canned goods, baking mixes, and other food. The boxes are then distributed to 70 families in time for their Thanksgiving celebrations. The Thanksgiving Food Baskets typically contain enough food to provide for several additional days of dining after Thanksgiving. The committee also asks annually for volunteers to assist in the advance preparation such as menu selection, pricing, ordering, and collecting boxes and agency coordination. We also seek volunteers each year who can help setup the packaging and distribution activities, and even the post-delivery cleanup activities at SOV.
Note that in 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be assigning tasks to family-based cohort groups, so we can maintain proper social distancing as we execute all of the activities required to make this program a reality. We will provide training on how to interface with other cohorts responsibly during Covid-19. Please be aware that no walk-in volunteers will be allowed this year.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Social Concerns committee or have questions about any of our programs please contact the church office. You may also donate to our Social Concerns programs by donating on-line. (Remember to click on the down arrow in the “Offerings” line to be able to view and then select/designate the correct fund).