Helping the Salem Community With Clothing, Classes and Bibles

December 01, 2006 | Mark Cockerham

Salem Adventist Community Services has served the Salem community for many years, helping with needs ranging from food and clothing to health classes and a request for a Bible.

Recently, a Russian family who had just moved from Washington and were looking for work came in. They had rented a small apartment but had no furniture, except for one bed for six people. We supplied them with household items—dishes, pans, towels and blankets as well as food and clothing. That same day a church member called, offering to donate a table and chairs. We helped her contact the family, and she delivered the table and chairs to them.

On another day, a woman came in who was homeless. She had been released from prison and had gone to a women’s shelter, but after a certain number of days, she had to leave. We gave her blankets, towels, food and clothes. She was able to obtain a camp stove elsewhere as well as a cooler.

She had one more request, “I would love to have a King James Bible. When I went to Sunday School as a child, I memorized some verses, and I can’t find them in these new Bibles.”

We located and gave her a King James Bible. She also took the card for the Discover Bible School. She was told just to bring the lessons by and she wouldn’t have to mail them. She was overjoyed. “You have just made my day.”

In addition to helping people with some of their basic needs, we also provide a number of classes, including classes about managing diabetes and cooking classes.

The Salem Adventist Community Services is supported by the three Salem churches—South, East and Central. We have approximately 25 volunteers serving in the various areas—adult and children’s clothing, sorting, washing and ironing, household goods department, quilting and interviewing clients.

Last year, our volunteers attended the Annual Forum held at the new Convention Center in Salem. Representatives from state and local agencies as well as private organizations presented reports of the local services they provide. The purpose of the conference is to coordinate social services available in the area. In November, four of our staff attended the conference. This provided an opportunity to let others know about our work so we can refer clients for services which aren’t available at Salem Adventist Community Services.