Clothes closets. Food lockers. Free meals.
These are just a few of the things that churches in Arden and Carmichael provide each month to members of the community who are in need.
But imagine if the various churches worked together so that free hot meals are spaced evenly throughout the month so the hungry are fed regularly and so that volunteers from one church can work side-by-side with volunteers from another.
That is exactly what is happening with the Arden Arcade Carmichael Faith Communities, a consortium of volunteers from more than a dozen area churches. Volunteers meet each month to review the needs of the community, calendar free meals and find ways to lock arms in order to provide more help for the needy than they could each provide on their own.
The collective effort breaks down barriers among church members of various denominations while also allowing the entire effort more power. It’s not just free meals and clean clothing they provide. The collective helps find housing for the homeless, financial assistance to help the working poor stay in their family homes, tutoring, backpacks, school lunches, and transportation to jobs, banks and medical appointments, said Jeannie Anderson-West of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish.
“No one should be hungry,” she said. “No one should skip an important medical treatment because they don’t have a ride. We know we can do so much more by working together than we can if we work in isolation. SO we joined hands to share knowledge, information and pool our energy to combat hunger in our neighborhoods.”
Group members have taken to Face book, where they communicate with each other the needs of residents across the area. They created the “Street Sheet,” a pamphlet of resources they distribute to the needy. And they’re joining forces to reach out to the community and let people know help is available, said St. Mark’s United Methodist Church volunteer Kevin Jenkins.
Every month, members of more than a dozen faith communities meet to plan shared efforts. The churches currently involved are Our Lady of Assumption, Sierra Arden United Church of Christ, Arden Christian Church, St. Michael’s Episcopal, St. Ignatius Loyola, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, First Church of Christ Scientist, Grace Presbyterian, Carmichael Presbyterian, St. Mark’s Untied Methodist, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Town and Country Lutheran, St. John the Evangelist, and Presentation.