Portland’s West Women’s shelter changes lives
WEST WOMEN’S DIRECTOR Pat Mohr shares a light moment with a young client.
BY MARLYSS SCHWENGELS –
The world of The Salvation Army comes into sharp focus every Christ-mas. Months of planning around conference tables soon turn to days of intense coordination with toys matched up to family requests and food boxes packed and ready for distribution. Thousands of caring volunteers join dedicated Salvation Army staff to prepare special meals, visit the ill and elderly, give gifts to prisoners’ families, and dress up the community gym for the neighborhood children’s Christmas party.
Then, through the whirlwind of myriad activities when exhaustion begins to settle in, come words of blessing, reminding us all of why we labor year long in the field of dreams and hope.
At The Salvation Army West Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Portland, Ore., days before Christmas, a woman we’ll call Meredith filled out a client feedback form. She filled in her name and the date, then answered the rest of the questions in this way:
Date item happened: “My whole stay here”
Time it happened: “Every day”
Where it happened: “Throughout the building”
Describe commendation/incident/concern: “First, let me thank God for West Women’s and Children’s Shelter of hopes and dreams. I’m very grateful that there are such places as West Women’s in this unsafe world. Where one can go and feel so safe and comfortable like home away from home. All of the workers here are so beautiful and full of life. I’m glad God gave me the chance to see real love at work in an unknown place for me. Thank you so much West Women’s for all you give us.”
Whether it’s at The West, which provides safe shelter and transitional programs to families escaping and surviving domestic violence, or scores of other programs, we are grateful to God that we are able day in and day out to serve the neediest children and families in our communities.