Lake Grove Presbyterian pours out love on Shepherd’s Door

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church serves monthly at Shepherd's Door.

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church serves monthly at Shepherd’s Door.

At Portland Rescue Mission, meeting the needs of thousands of people suffering from hunger, homelessness, addiction and abuse takes more than 3,000 volunteers and 30,000 donors every year. Church partners are a core part of this dedicated team giving hope and restoring life when people need us most.

For many years now, passionate people from Lake Grove Presbyterian Church have given generously and poured out their hearts in a variety of compassionate ways. From putting on a summer benefit concert at the beginning of June, to their youth serving down at the Burnside Shelter during holidays, to a monthly dinner event at Shepherd’s Door, Lake Grove Presbyterian has been one of our most valued partners.

“Lake Grove has really developed a culture of honor, an caring and benevolence,” says Holly Hummel, Donor Relations Specialist. “They really do have a strong culture of caring and compassion.”

Helping mobilize volunteers are Laurel and Randy Bretzman, who first attended Lake Grove Presbyterian four years ago. Fueled by a passion to help people trapped in homelessness, Laurel asked her church to serve Portland Rescue Mission in a new way. They provided a budget to supplement donated food items along with a list of potential volunteers. Her personal calling campaign resulted in a pool of 120+ people who help in a myirad of ways.

Every month, Laurel, Randy and a rotating group of other volunteers give up their Saturdays to cook, serve and eat dinner at Shepherd’s Door, our New Life Ministry for women and children.

While part of the team prepares the meal, several others break out playdough, games and other fun activities to do with the children.

“I love the openness of the women,” says Laurel. Talking with the women in our New Life Ministry draws her closer to God. “I find it so humbling to talk to a recovering woman, so strong in her faith and trust in God that it surpasses my own. Shepherd’s Door approaches recovery holistically — not just food, it’s spiritual, it’s parenting, it’s job training, it’s taking personal responsibility and learning to forgive and love yourself as God does. It’s just such a great program. It’s a pleasure to be a part of.”

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church has a rotation of 120+ volunteers that volunteer at Shepherd's Door.

Lake Grove Presbyterian Church has a rotation of 120+ volunteers that serve at Shepherd’s Door.

A labor of love to be sure, but one that has left a lasting impression on the women, children and staff at Shepherd’s Door. The residents look forward to each and every time Lake Grove Presbyterian’s Saturday comes up on the third Saturday of every month.

“To invite someone into your home and share a meal with them is a very intimate thing, and we want Shepherd’s Door to feel like home,” Holly reiterated. “The folks at Lake Grove do that so well, and it’s very encouraging. We are Lake Grove’s Mission, and they approach that responsibility with excellence.”

Up to 62 women and children take part in our residential New Life Ministry at Shepherd’s Door, located in northeast Portland. Learn how your church, organization or business can volunteer at PortlandRescueMission.org/Volunteer.