Our Westside churches are involved in helping our neighbors through community outreach programs.
One of the newer churches in our neighborhood is the Hope and Anchor Church, located at 2216 W. College. While this congregation has only been in our neighborhood since August 2018, they have conducted several events designed to lift up our neighbors by having celebrations where neighbors can gather and meet one another.
In October, Hope and Anchor hosted a fall celebration for the neighborhood. We enjoyed games, food and meeting the congregation, who have the desire to uplift the people of the Westside. I had a great bowl of chili while listening to live music and the laughter of the children playing games.
In November, the Hope and Anchor Church hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for Westside. We enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings served in the church’s fellowship hall. I talked to many of our neighbors and met some new ones. Neighbors who live alone and those who could not otherwise have a meal like this expressed their gratitude for the meal the fellowship. I know of no one who went away hungry. After the meal, we gathered in the sanctuary to sing. I heard from many Westside neighbors that this event touched their lives.
In December, Hope and Anchor Church held the Christmas Candyland event focused on the youngest of our neighbors. The sanctuary was filled with families of children waiting their turn to visit with Santa and have their photo taken. Every child who attended this event received a toy, a book and candy. It was great to hear the laughter of the children and see their smiles as they proudly held the gifts given to them. There were some tears of joy from the parents who were happy that their child was receiving a gift. This event was such a blessing to our neighbors and our neighborhood.
Another neighborhood church that deserves recognition is the Walnut Street Christian Church. Almost 40 years ago, the Walnut Street Christian Church accepted the call for community service by collecting food items for Crosslines and delivering the food weekly to the food pantry. Later, this group of dedicated people would also donate their time to volunteer at Crosslines on a regular schedule to help distribute the food donated.
Two of these volunteers, George and Joanne Saffeels, who are longtime members of Walnut Street Christian, were there when the service to Crosslines began and continue to regularly serve Crosslines by volunteering at the food pantry. I have worked with George at Crosslines where he bags food items for distribution to those in need. He always has a smile and kind words to share with those he greets. It is always a pleasure to see George and his uplifting attitude on service to those in need.
Recently, George and Joanne were recognized for their years of service by being awarded the Crosslines Volunteers of the Year Award. On behalf of the Westside Neighborhood Association we congratulate George and Joanne Saffeels for being presented this award and express our gratitude for their years of community service.
In the new year, I am looking forward to future events that these churches and others may bring to the Westside to lift up our neighbors with their spiritual needs and possibly joining with the WNBA on a neighborhood event.