On this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, residents, staff, and volunteers from Paul’s Run answered one of Dr. King’s most important questions, “What are you doing for others?” Partnering with local ELCA congregations throughout the surrounding region, members of the community have been collecting donated toiletry items that were assembled into hygiene kits on this commemorative day of service. These hygiene kits will be distributed to a local ELCA ministry, The Welcome Church.
Known in Philadelphia as the church with no walls, this unique ministry serves different sites throughout the city, bringing hope and faith to the local homeless population who reside there.
The Welcome Church creates ‘pop-up churches’ for the homeless individuals of the surrounding community. This volunteer effort is a collaborative project to provide them with some of the items needed to support the people they minister to.Pastor Julie Stumpf, director of spiritual care at Paul’s Run.
With residents, staff, volunteers, congregations, and local organizations coming together to assemble these kits for The Welcome Church of Philadelphia, their volunteer efforts are officially registered as part of the 25th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. This event is organized by Global Citizen, a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting civic engagement, community volunteering, civic responsibility, and sustained active citizenship among diverse groups.
Pastor Julie describes how this volunteering opportunity will not only benefit members of the local Philadelphia community but how it brings fulfillment and meaning to the lives of residents at Paul’s Run.
The residents really enjoy this type of work. It gives them a new sense of purpose in being able to make a difference in the world around them.
Another great benefit this tremendous volunteer event brings to residents is the opportunity to have their home pastors come to their community and share in a benevolent venture. “Many of the congregations we’ve partnered with have residents who are congregants. So, it’s great to bring their home pastors into their community and do a collaborative project with them.”
The residents, staff, and volunteers of Paul’s Run who weren’t available to assemble hygiene kits on this day of service, were still able to be an important part of this volunteer project. “Boxes for donated items have been placed throughout the Paul’s Run community for donations all winter long,” says Pastor Julie. “Anyone who couldn’t be there for MLK Day was able to be part of the day of service by bringing in a toiletry item.” In addition to the collections that took place at Paul’s Run and local ELCA congregations, Liberty Lutheran’s office in Whitemarsh joined in collecting donated items for this impactful project.
Paul’s Run is grateful to all of the volunteers, residents, and staff who contributed to this meaningful cause. Their upstanding volunteer service and commitment to honor Dr. King’s legacy brings peace and comfort to many.