by Loretta Stadt from First CRC in Edmonton, Alberta
Are you from Amy’s church? Is Amy here? Is there ice cream tonight? How much cheese did you bring? These are just some of the questions we commonly receive from the residents of the People in Need House (PIN House) when we come to provide and serve snack on the third Saturday evening of the month.
PIN House is an organization that provides housing and care for about 130 mentally ill people many of whom have other health and/or disability issues as well. Many of the residents are very much alone with little contact with family and friends outside of the facility.
First CRC of Edmonton became connected to PIN House, located seven blocks south of the church, through Dr. Amy Borkent. Amy is a member of First CRC as well as the doctor for many of the residents at PIN House. A number of years ago she presented to the congregation a way for us to support people living at PIN House. At least 25 people stepped up to volunteer. These people were divided into five teams and they take turns providing and serving evening snack once a month. In addition to this a gift is bought for all those who had a birthday that month. For many it’s the only gift they receive.
Each Christmas Amy finds out what each of the residents would like and provides this information to the congregation. Congregants then volunteer to buy the gifts and write a personal note to the recipient. Once again this is often the only Christmas gift the residents receive.
Amy is the only member of the congregation the residents know well so there is much room for improvement in our connection with PIN House. However, I believe God is still using us to show people, who are often the most neglected in our society, that he has not forgotten them.