City Gates Ministries is committed to helping the homeless, poor, and people facing eviction in Thurston County. The organization operates food pantries and soup kitchens as well as transitional housing. They can also direct clients to self-sufficiency services and long term, more permanent housing. The charity is focused on preventing and also reversing homelessness in the greater Thurston County region.
The organization has a committed team of dedicated full time staff as well as volunteers who work hard to ensure that everyone in need is both housed and fed. The ministry feeds, at no cost to them, hundreds of people on a given night. They also have special seasonal programs such as Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.
As another benefit, what the agency has found is that that providing families with food often frees up their hard earned money that is then used to pay other expenses, such as their monthly rent, prescriptions and utility bills. The food ministry’s team of volunteers is made up of several smaller groups as well, the functions of which are described here.
The food gathering team collects items that are donated by a variety of sources, including churches, local markets, grocery stores, farms in Thurston County, and collecting depots. City Gates Ministries will also organize food drives and fundraisers to obtain sufficient commodities to meet the increasing demand.
The preparation team is a group of staff and well trained volunteers who understand the value of feeding hungry souls and the homeless in the community. They meet to prepare the food that was collected by the gathering team above and these items will go out to the street. All church groups or other non-profit organizations in Thurston are welcome to volunteer one week a month to prepare and deliver free hot food, water, sandwiches, baked goods, hot chocolate, juice, and holiday meals.
A delivery team consists of groups from partnering charities and churches in the area. This particular group will deliver groceries or meals directly to the homes of people who cannot visit the food banks on their own because of lack of transportation, disabilities, or maybe their age. Deliveries consist of enough food, groceries or even hot meals to last an average of two weeks.
City Gates’ Parent’s Ministry provides assistance for homeless or low-income parents as well as single moms. They do this by providing necessary supplies for their children, including infants. In addition to furnishing clothing, free diapers, and other items, the agency will also provide mentoring services for the parents.
Staff will develop relationships with the family, visiting them at the hospital or in home, connect them with needed resources, and invite them to church. Volunteers who have compassion for young mothers and fathers are invited to join in this effort.
Street Lights Ministry from City Gates works in partnership with Thurston County communities, businesses, charities, and churches to meet the needs of those who are homeless and living on the street. The staff from Street Lights meets in the same place and at the same time every night.
Living on the street in Thurston County is tough, and lacking the basic essentials, such as food or shelter, that most people take for granted makes the situation even worse. Volunteers provide such items as toothpaste, distributing tarps, blankets, propane, batteries, flash lights, soap, and other items. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals to give back and serve the desperate needs of the poor, pray, build relationships, and gain a better understanding of the homeless and their street culture.
The team will assemble as a group. They then go on the streets to visit the poor and homeless where they reside. They document those adults and children benefiting from the services, and enter into relationships with the less fortunate. Street Lights has helped many by getting them off the street into low income housing. Staff find them shelter, providing job referrals, referring them to other agencies, assisting with transportation, offer information on rent programs, referrals service providers, and medical clinics.
City Gates’ furniture bank is another tool for assisting people who have nothing, such as material goods or items for their home. Their committed delivery team of volunteers spends time picking up donated furniture and delivering it to families transitioning from homelessness or temporary shelters into more secure circumstances.
Since clients can get free furniture or household items, this provides them with extra money to cover other financial necessities, such as their monthly rent. The church will also welcome strong volunteers who are willing to help pick up and deliver furniture.
For more information, City Gates Ministries is located at 1910 East 4th Ave, #108, Olympia, Washington 98506-4632. Call them at 360-705-0291.
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