by Rev. Kathi McShane, Los Altos UMC
Every Sunday during the four weeks of Advent, Los Altos UMC (LAUMC), says something like, “We’ve taken a big, courageous step—we’ve set a goal of $150,000 for Advent Generosity. It’s more than we’ve ever raised before, almost twice as much as we raised last year. But we think we can do it.”
The members and friends of LAUMC did it again this year.
By the time the gifts were fully counted, the Advent Generosity offering exceeded our hopes and dreams. This will allow LAUMC to deliver substantial support to each of the three community projects proposed as recipients of this offering:
· Dignity on Wheels, which will buy a brand new mobile shower and laundry unit
· First United Methodist Church of Salinas, which will start this year of services to the homeless community in downtown Salinas deficit-free
· Compassion Week, which can begin planning for Compassion Week 2020 fully funded, and with a seed fund for a staff position that will allow for it to expand even further
It’s really quite amazing—another one of those moments when the true generosity and open-heartedness of this community rises to the surface, like it did last February when LAUMC showed up with 100 dozen home-baked cookies on two days’ notice.
But there’s one more piece of this story.
When Phil Pompei, LAUMC Extravagant Generosity Team chair, called Project WeHOPE to say that we would be sending more than the cost of a new Dignity on Wheels truck, he was told that in fact, the spike in the housing crisis has created an urgent need for a second new truck. The Dignity on Wheels staff has identified a used vehicle and LAUMC sent additional funds for that truck as well both from the Advent Generosity Fund and from an anonymous donor.
As a result, Advent Generosity will provide not one, but two new Dignity on Wheels trucks that will offer showers, laundry, and everyday necessities of life to people who don’t have a home—either temporarily or long-term.
It will enable a full year of services to people in Salinas who are working their way out of homelessness, addiction, and incarceration.
It will allow at least 3,000 people in Los Altos and Mountain View to have an experience of hands-on service this fall, one that just might propel them into year-round volunteering with the organizations that are our partners in this community.
God is good. Every donor to Advent Generosity has made that goodness tangible in a practical, here-and-now way.