For some time, the Sunnyside (Ore.) Church had an unfulfilled desire to reach out to the Walla Walla University nursing students who live in the dorm next door. When Jonathan Russell, pastor, joined the team, he stepped up to the plate to make that outreach desire become a reality.
What began with a Friday soup and bread night has expanded to include Monday-night meals. An abundance of helpers keep the students well fed on Monday evenings and the first Friday evening of each month.
Dale and Karen Davies, Bill and Ruby Hohensee, Jim and Carmen Newell, and Konnie Geschke co-lead the ministry. Erik and Alice Nielsen coordinate the Friday-night events. Other "heroes" include Lloyd and Lori Wescott; Sylvia Bokich; Cliff and Betty Sorensen; and Eileen Stuart, the dormitory dean. Many other Sunnyside Church members participate from time to time and enjoy the opportunity to become acquainted with students.
The number of students who take advantage of this opportunity to "chat and nibble" is usually between 40–50. As word about these events continues to spread, young adults who don't attend WWU have started dropping in on Friday and Monday evenings as well. Students have indicated they not only appreciate good food and a welcome break in their busy schedules, but also the opportunity to visit with one another and get to know the "food crew." Stuart says it is a joy to see the students come out of their rooms or other study locations to spend a few moments of fellowship and friendship together.