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  • Writer's pictureOutreach

Jenny & Jody's Journey with Outreach

In February of 2020, as youth group mentors, parents of high schoolers, and Pilgrim Lutheran Church members, we were looking for new opportunities to share God’s love, particularly with teens less fortunate than our own. I don’t remember exactly how I heard about Outreach, but I enlisted a few friends to decorate the Program Center for Valentine’s Day and serve a Thursday night pasta dinner. We were hoping to spread some love to young people who did not have the same advantages of our own kids. That night we were the ones who found our hearts filled with hope. As we served dinner, the youth shared with us their stories and, many times, their smiles– even though their situations were often challenging and discouraging. We decided that night we wanted to tell other church members about Outreach and come back and serve dinner more regularly.

However, Covid came, and the Program Center and our church closed along with everything else. We still wanted to find a way to help Outreach and the youth it served. We held several donation drives to collect items Outreach needed to continue to help youth as best they could during the pandemic. We also made snack bags and brought them to Outreach. And in August of 2020, we decided to help with the Outreach effort to deliver food each Wednesday. Again, we found ourselves with filled hearts as we delivered food each week and got to know a couple of the food recipients who nearly always greeted us with thanks and smiles and tidbits about their lives. When the food deliveries ended and the Program Center opened again, we once again decided we wanted to find a way to stay involved with the youth and get to know their stories. We volunteered to be drivers/relationship builders for one morning each week. During more than 35 short trips in our cars, from the same seats our own teens shared their stories, we’ve heard stories of unbelievable adversity. But these youth, not unlike our own, still want to turn up the music on a nice day and share their stories and hopes and dreams of having their own apartments and jobs. Outreach is the place these youth & young adults are finding the people and tools to take steps toward realizing those hopes and dreams. So whether it is picking up a young lady to bring her to Outreach for the first time, driving a young man to the BMV to get an ID, driving a young man to a staffing agency or a job interview, we try to listen and learn about each of them and help them find hope in that day and the days to come.

We are also particularly grateful for the wonderful new relationships we’ve built with other Outreach volunteers who feel the same pull at their hearts to help these youth and share an understanding of how different life can be just because of the situation you are born into.

– Jenny & Jody, Outreach Volunteers

Jenny & Jody came alongside Outreach and have deeply invested in our youth & young adults’ Journeys to HOPE! Today, you can be part of the journey by giving a financial gift towards our goal of raising $325,000. Thanks to the generosity of our donor community, we have a $100,000 match, so your gift will have double the impact! Visit our website to give a gift today.

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