Churches across King County Washington are involved in helping the working poor. The types of assistance that an individual may be given may be financial in nature, including cash for paying bills or rent, or they may be in-kind goods. This is when a Seattle or Reston area church pass out food, clothes, holiday toys, and much more.
Most of the assistance is focused on families that live near the parish. How this works is as follows. Tolt Congregational United Church Of Christ will only assist qualified residents of Snoqualmie Valley. Other parishes will also focus their aid on people that live right near the church.
Regardless of religion, the working poor in King County can apply for the Emergency Fund from University Congregational United Church (4515 16th Ave NE, Seattle, WA, 98105, dial (206) 524-7885) or other parishes. There is assistance for anyone in need, whether they are single parents, immigrants, Hispanics that are recent immigrants, and others. The money available from the fund is used for paying for critical expenses, and it can also offer help with rent.
The financial aid from a church will be offered to pay critical bills. It can pay for housing costs, rent or energy bill if it were to stop an eviction. Emergency funds also ramp up during the King County winter months for paying heat as well as natural gas bills, as many families living in poverty or the elderly may have their health at risk without service during that time-frame.
King County churches also help with transportation. Some times the family may be behind on their rent as they need to get to their job site. The Emergency Fund may therefore either pay for a bus token or mass transit, or they provide free gasoline vouchers for employment related needs. Some parishes, including the Good Neighbor Fund at United Church of Christ (4851 Tolt Ave, Carnation, WA, 98014, (425) 333-4254), provide for medical needs too.
When the member of the community lacks health coverage (or the money to buy a medication) then vouchers may be issued to pay for some or all of the prescription drug. But the health and dental care assistance may even be more extensive then that as there are free clinics held across Seattle. While many of them target the homeless, other clients of these medical clinics include immigrants, children from under-insured families, and the indigent.
Another option, that is separate from the Emergency Fund, is the faith based groups that offer meals and free food. Eastside Church at 24205 SE Issaquah Fall City Rd, Issaquah, Washington, 98029 (call (425) 392-3253) is but on of them. There are literally dozens of churches across King County that are involved in feeding the hungry.
They pantries as well as soup kitchens operate year round, but select days of the week. A local church is also a good place to turn to for fresh or canned food, a hot lunch (especially on the weekends), and much more. No matter the religion, whether Christian or something else, these religious organizations are also effective at both feeding people during the holidays and spreading job in other ways.
Churches not only hold a service on Christmas morning, but many have a free toy shop that the parents can use. They also often have turkey dinners at Thanksgiving. Since there are so many faiths and backgrounds of people in King County, the food from places such as MLK Memorial Baptist Church (4519 NE 10th St., Renton, Washington, 98059 (phone (425) 687-8365)) that is served will also try to meet specialist ethnic backgrounds, whether Chinese, Latino, or another race. These Christmas gifts as well as Turkey giveaway will help the poor have some form of holiday joy.
Members of a parish, including both volunteers as well as part time employees, realize that many of their clients need much more then money for food, rent, or some other bill. So they try to provide the counseling (both spiritual and practical guidance) to individuals so they can learn to help themselves. This is where a church advocates for the disadvantaged.
Social services as well as homeless drop in centers are at sites including University Temple UM Church (location Seattle, Washington, 98105, phone (206) 327-0744). Note anyone that is struggling can use them. If they are a refugees, women fleeing domestic violence, or pregnant teenager, these locations give them the non-judgmental support they need. A major focus is also on supporting expectant moms with clothes, baby formula, and similar goods. Find more assistance for pregnant women.
The centers not only give a hot meal or hygiene items, but there will be showers, restrooms, computers for job seeking and laundry facilities available for use. Some locations even have emergency homeless shelters on site, including First United Church Blaine Center (80 Denny Way Seattle, WA 98109, 206.622.7278).
Staff from the church will meet with anyone that is struggling. They review everything from seeking dental care from a clinic to helping an immigrant obtain identification or paperwork to become a citizen. These programs though require active involvement from the client as while a faith based group is willing to try to help, the individual needs to be committed to doing the work required.
For referrals to short term or long term help from a church, the King County referral service is 206-461-3200. Callers will be given details on resources near them.
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