Lighthouse Mission Ministries’ third annual Drive for Joy event will collect life-saving supplies for people who are homeless on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Barkley Village.
This drive-through and drop-off event will be located outside the Barkley Woods Coffee (3008 Cinema Pl). Local radio station Praise 106.5 will be live broadcasting the event for the third year in a row.
Signs will guide people’s cars to the drop-off point in two lines, with 20 staff and volunteers helping direct people and collecting (new) donated items. The event is outdoors and will follow COVID-19 guidelines, including masking and social distancing.
People who wish to donate can drive through and drop off mens and women’s underwear (all sizes), socks, deodorant, non-knit hats and gloves, razors, hand warmers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, hand sanitizer/wet wipes, and/or single serve instant coffee packets. New items, as opposed to used items, are requested.
Hans Erchinger-Davis, President & CEO of Lighthouse Mission Ministries, said that many of these items will be given as Christmas gifts to people experiencing homelessness. Extra items will be distributed as part of outreach throughout the year.
“The items gathered at Drive for Joy are absolutely necessary to build trust and friendship with people who are homeless,” Erchinger-Davis said. “People on the streets are already in a place of hypervigilance, and when you’re in survival mode it’s too hard to think beyond the next day or even the next hour. That’s where we come in, by meeting needs and offering next steps.”
Meeting people’s immediate needs is the connection point for Lighthouse Mission team members to build a friendship and help people get the long-term, life-changing resources they need, Erchinger-Davis said.
During the week of intense floods in Bellingham, the Lighthouse Mission Outreach team found that homeless encampments around Bellingham were saturated with rain and scattered by the wind, Erchinger-Davis said. Over 20 new individuals have come to Base Camp, their 24/7 low-barrier shelter, in the week since the flooding, he said.
“Our outreach team was able to give people who were unsheltered blankets, hand warmers and socks during the recent week of flooding,” Erchinger-Davis said. “It was just crucial that we had those supplies to offer when people needed them most.”
Erchinger-Davis said that during the pandemic, the Lighthouse Mission has had limited capacity to sort item donations–but Drive for Joy is the perfect opportunity to donate items, because volunteers can help sort the donations.
Lighthouse Mission Ministries has been helping people who are homeless since 1923. It cares for up to 310 people each day and provides a continuum of services aimed at ending homelessness through street outreach, enhanced shelters, addiction recovery, spiritual support, and aftercare. To make a donation or volunteer, call (360) 733-5120, or visit www.thelighthousemission.org.