Woodstock church gives clothing … and hope

Read this, and learn why an East Portland church finds it more satisfying to help people in need, instead of just preaching at them.

Tremont Evangelical Church members Vivian O’Day, Pam DuClos, Pastor Ed Kelly, and Margie Bean prepare the clothing they give to the needy each month.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Many long-established congregations have moved out of inner East Portland, following their parishioners’ flight to the suburbs.

“Before we built our current ‘new’ church 30 years ago,” senior pastor Ed Kelly says, “our congregation decided we’d stay here in Woodstock instead of moving. Even though many of our members have moved away, they’ve stayed attached to our church.”

In addition to ministering to the needs of their members, Kelly says their goal is to be community minded. “We are a faith-based community partner with Rose Development, schools, and anyone would like to work with us.”

Sharing their surplus
We visited the church in February to see the kickoff of their free clothing distribution program.

“We’re using our resources to help our community,” explains program director Pam DuClos. “There are a lot of people in need; and we have a lot of surplus. We want to connect our bounty with the needs of the community.”

Top quality clothing
DuClos said their volunteers examine every item of clothing to make sure it isn’t ripped or soiled ‚Äì and that it is usable.

The variety we see laid out of the tables in the church’s recreation area is astonishing. “We have sizes fitting newborns to adults for both men and women.”

Kelly explains their charity program, saying, “We provide free clothing to anyone who needs it. With no questions asked, we’ll help you, and you can go. You aren’t going to be preached at.”

Eventually, church plans to increase their “food closet” program as well. “We already have a ‘Helping Hands’ program that is done by request. Our committee delivers food to those who need it,” Kelly says

Open second Saturdays
The free clothing program will be open again on March 10, and will continue to operate on the second Saturday of every month between 10 am to noon. For more information, see www.tremontchurch.org, or call (503) 774-6689.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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