Every Christmas season, Mars Hill Church has a host of opportunities to engage with our local communities and serve our neighbors wherever we have a local church. As we have grown, it is exciting to see Jesus reach out to serve more and more communities through the hearts of the people of Mars Hill.
This year, our 10 churches in the Seattle area were able to once again support Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission with coats, socks, blankets, non-perishable food and toys as Christmas presents for children and those in need in our city. If you don’t know, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, by the grace of God, provides emergency care and long-term recovery services to hurting and homeless people in the greater Seattle area, and we are excited for our continued partnership with them. (They also host our Rainier Valley church at their facilities near Hope Place, a woman’s shelter.)
By the end of the Christmas season, several large trucks full of donations were collected, including blankets, toiletries, over 700 pounds of clothing, and over 1,200 pounds of food. Another 100 coats were collected for Acres of Diamonds, a women’s transitional home in Duvall, northeast of Seattle.
“We were truly blessed and know that the blessings will multiply as your gifts are distributed to, or used for the benefit of men, women, and children who are in deep need at this time,” said Linda Lynch, who oversees gifts in kind and food services for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
In addition to supporting UGM, Mars Hill’s Ballard church supported a Thanksgiving dinner at the 2 Bit Saloon, providing about 200 hygiene packets and food for the homeless and those living out of their vehicles in the Ballard area.
“Thank you so much for everything,” wrote Jessica, the bar’s owner, afterward. “Thanksgiving was great and Christmas will be even better!! I’m so happy to have your support, I really feel like we’re making a difference and breaking down barriers! I couldn’t be happier!”
Nineteen different Community Groups within our Orange County church were able to support Operation Christmas Child with about 60 boxes of toys and gifts in California.
Mars Hill Portland collected 371 welcome boxes with gifts for children of families in need via the local Department of Human Services. Donations included games, children’s books, and more. The church intends to continue to donate boxes monthly for the Alberta neighborhood DHS office.
Mars Hill Olympia partnered with Reality Church to help with the Home for Christmas event and provide over 100 presents for boys and girls of families in need. The event provided a warm place for people to gather in community to watch classic Christmas movies, play board games, and enjoy a big Christmas meal together. We were also able to give away winter coats and clothes, toiletry items, and presents for the adults as well.
Mars Hill Albuquerque supported Clothes Helping Kids, an organization that takes just about anything as donations and either gives away or sells items to help children’s charities throughout the state. By the end of the donations drive, we were able to fill two large trucks full of clothes. Mars Hill Albuquerque plans to continue supporting this cause throughout the year as well.
These are just some of the ways we were able to help the communities where Jesus has placed us this Christmas season.
Pastor Dave Bruskas oversees the Mars Hill network of churches.