A warm plate of food, surrounded by others is perhaps one of the best parts of the holiday season. One Valencia church knows the feeling and they want to make sure those less fortunate have the opportunity to experience the heartfelt sentiment.
On Tuesday, members of the Valencia United Methodist Church got together to prepare a full-course meal for about 60 homeless individuals staying at Bridge to Home, the Santa Clarita Valley’s emergency homeless shelter.
“This is a way for us to reach out to those in our community that needs a helping hand,” said Michelle Andrews, director of discipleship and care.
Andrews’ family and another were behind the cooking, preparing enchiladas, rice, beans, guacamole and Christmas treats and ready to serve the community for dinner at 6 p.m.
“We got a good group of people to help out,” she said. “We had service on Monday for Christmas Eve and I got home at around 12:30 a.m. Christmas Day to finish preparing the enchiladas.”
The friendly act of kindness is not the first time members of the church give back.
“We actually do dinner twice a month and Bridge to Home is served on a regular basis,” said Andrews. “It just so happened that the second time for this month landed on Christmas Day.”
The holiday break did not stop them from cooking for others, some who may be complete strangers. Andrews said Valencia Methodist Church members sign up to prepare and serve food, bringing neighbors and even girl scouts, who may not be a part of the congregation, to help out.
“Every meal — every day — for our homeless neighbors is provided by a group in Santa Clarita,” said Michael Foley, executive director at Bridge to Home. “The work is only possible thanks to our volunteers and our donors.”
The church will also donate funds to Bridge to Home as part of its annual “miracle offerings,” where donations are collected to help out one of its four ministry partners, like Bridge to Home and Family Promise of SCV. Andrews said the amount collected won’t be known until early next week.
“It is impossible to express our gratitude to everyone at Valencia Methodist,” said Foley. “What an amazing expression of what this day is about.”
Bridge to Home is accepting donations this holiday season to help keep its doors open after a grant they expected was canceled.
“It will give our neighbors experiencing homelessness – help and hope – so they can make a change,” Bridge to Home officials said in a prepared statement. To donate, visit btohome.org.