“We have prayed for a place like this to be open in this area.”
Just this morning, someone told us this, as she sipped on her coffee and wrapped a few presents she had managed to gather for her kids.
Since we opened the doors to our hospitality space a little over a month ago, we have heard sentiments like this many many times from our friends that join us. Thank you for being open. Which is so great to hear. But the reality is, we don’t do all that much. We open up a warm place. We make some decent coffee. We have some snacks available for people to make. We try to welcome everyone as neighbors. We do what we can to involve folks in what we are doing.
Because the reality is, there are not many places like this in Everett, and almost none in our neighborhood. A place where people can safely go in the morning without being asked to leave, or where they don’t need money and some other reason to be there. Where someone can get a warm cup of coffee with no strings attached. We are thankful to be able to offer these things to Evetett. But more than that, what we want to offer is community. Relationship. To help facilitate spaces, moments, and times when people can connect with one another. Where people can find friendship on their journey. And even though we are still quite small, and new, we are seeing glimpses of these things already.
We have seen a friend of ours, who is dealing with some pretty intense mental illness, find a safe place to rest. Even though it took her a while to be comfortable in our space. And the reason she feel comfortable here, she told us, was that we don’t tell her what to do. Like so many of the other places she has tried to get help. The only thing we did was treat her like a fellow human being.
We have seen another friend of ours start helping us out with setting up, taking down, making coffee, etc. He started to do so in order to take care of some community service requirements, but has stuck around, because we don’t just provide stuff, we invite everyone to participate and help if they want to. Because here he feels like a part of the community, not just the recipient of our charity.
These are just a few of the beautiful things we have seen since our hospitality space has been open at Our Common Ground. And it is our hope that this space continues to be a place where people can find these connections. But the reality is, we need partners in this work. Even with the simplicity in which we do what we do, it takes resources to make this happen. It takes people’s time. It takes supplies. It takes a place to offer that is warm and dry. And all this requires resources.
So in this holiday season, this Christmas week, we ask you if you might be willing to contribute to Our Common Ground, and our continued mission to provide a place a welcome and hospitality. The reality is, we are trying to raise a little over 35,000.00 by the end of 2016. While this might not seem like a big number to larger organizations, it is quite daunting to us. But we truly believe that what we are doing is not only needed in Everett. It is needed in our world. That community must be central to the question of how our cities and neighborhoods respond the the reality of homelessness, addiction, and mental (un)health.
So we ask you if you might be willing to partner financially with Our Common Ground. To come alongside us in our work. To join us in imagining how we can better love and welcome our neighbors. From one time donations to regular, monthly support, everything helps our community.
For more information on how to donate, please visit this link to our website. There are many ways to contribute.
We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Luke and Rebecca Sumner