Photo by Danilo Rizzuti | http://bit.ly/DaniloRizzutiFreeDigitalPhotos
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby, some have entertained angels unawares.”—Hebrews 13: 1 & 2
From Bridges’ inception, the strong link to local churches has been a central part of our design. Even the original concept of Bridges of Hope started in a church that saw both the wide array of resources and the vast needs of families within the community–and wanted to design a system that could better bridge the gap between the two. As a faith-based organization, Bridges of Hope is fortunate–and blessed–to have the support of many of our local area churches.
And now, ten years later, in addition to many other services we provide, Bridges of Hope continues to play a key role in connecting those in need to the resources that can best serve them–and a key role in acting as the resource “specialists” for area churches to refer someone to when they come to a church for help. In fact, last year, gifts from churches made up almost 30% of our donations! Churches were also the third-largest group of referrers to Bridges of Hope in 2011.
Occasionally, we will partner financially with a church to help a family in need, and typically these partnerships occur when they are members of church who need help beyond what the church can provide, like in Lisa’s case:
Lisa contacted Bridges of Hope inquiring about resources for help with an electric bill. She is a single mom of two children; an eight-year-old and five-year-old. For the past three years, Lisa has owned and managed her own business. For the last three months, Lisa’s business had not been turning a profit, so she stopped drawing a personal paycheck and had been getting by in the short-term with child support, food support, and savings. Lisa had managed to keep up with her bills, but when gophers chewed through her wiring and cut power to her house, she knew that she simply couldn’t afford the rewiring, which would cost nearly $1,500 to repair.
Lisa was referred to Bridges of Hope by her church, after she had expressed concern about her inability to pay this bill during a weekly prayer group. During her conversation with a Bridges staff, Lisa indicated that (amazingly) she had been able to budget tightly and set aside a small portion of money to go towards the bill. Bridges of Hope was able to partner with Lisa’s church and utilize its internal funding in order to cover the remaining cost of the rewiring.
An Electrical Contractor was able to fix the wiring and power was restored to the home very quickly, and during a follow-up phone call, Lisa said she was very grateful for the help from Bridges of Hope. She explained that without it she didn’t know what she would have done.
Esther Reagan, Pastoral Associate, when asked why Brainerd Area Catholic Churches has been providing financial support to Bridges of Hope for over five years, said: “Your [organization] is serving many of the people of our community who do not meet the criteria for other services and [we support you] because of your coordination across several social service agencies, thus reducing duplication of service….We are grateful for the services you provide. It is an asset to the community.”
We feel privileged to serve this community and to be thought of as an asset for churches. We consider it one of our essential roles to help protect and steward our church resources, using them responsibly in order to help as many in need as possible. We also know that in the process, we may be “entertaining angels” unawares.
How to connect with Bridges of Hope at your church:
Join our “Faithful Friends” group to act as a key link between your congregation and Bridges of Hope. Email Jana to learn more.
Refer someone in need to Bridges of Hope.
Invite Bridges to share about our services during your weekend service, coffee hour, an adult forum, youth group, or other group–or contact us to learn more about how we can be a partner with your church.