In the “CPD Blessings” video that was sent out yesterday, you heard Jim Blake briefly describe how Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds has been blessed to serve the homeless in their community. One minute, however, can hardly do justice to the impact that our camp is having. This is the “rest of the story.”
ARCG has partnered with the Redwood Gospel Mission of Santa Rosa, welcoming eighty men and women in their residential addiction recovery program to shelter in place at the Camp. They have done this without any commitment of funding from the government as of yet.
James 1:27 states:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Not only does our Father applaud our compassionate outreach to those in need, but the secular community will recognize it as well. Take a quick look at how the local paper in ARCG’s area is recognizing the value of their compassionate ministry:
The Press Democrat April 13, 2020
...“This was a way to immediately prevent a health crisis from materializing by opening our doors,” Alliance Redwoods Executive Director Jim Blake said. “I have dozens of staff living on-site who can, at a moment’s notice, crank it up and get food service happening and beds made up.”
The move also has freed space at the downtown mission for about 30 additional people in need of shelter through county coordinated care and hospital referrals, Redwood Gospel Mission Executive Director Jeff Gilman said.
“It is really challenging, which was why we were super grateful for the opportunity to be at Alliance Redwoods, which allowed for those people to be at a proper distance,” Gilman said.
“These guys got off the bus and thought they’d died and gone to heaven,” he said.
One even called his daughter to verify his recollection he was now at the same spot where she had attended sixth-grade outdoor education, he said.
“You’re going to love camp,” she told him, Blake said.
At the same time, Blake heard California Gov. Gavin Newsom speak about the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in homeless encampments and the need to “decompress” populations and realized Alliance Redwoods might help.
So he called Gilman, who recalled Blake saying, “How can we be involved, and how can we meet a need?’ ”
The result is homeless individuals are now spread out among some of the 100 cabins at Redwood Alliance, able to walk trails and utilize recreational equipment when they’re not participating in remote recovery meetings, classes and chapel.
The plan is to have mission guests stay on the site until May 3, at least, making adjustments dependent on the status of cases and health orders in Sonoma County.
“We’ve found that lots of people are enjoying the setting,” Gilman said. “We’ve found that a lot of people have never been out to that area before.”
As have many of you, I have experienced the spiritual benefits of the ministry of ARCG over the years. It is very exciting to see that they also represent the Central Pacific District in the larger community.
Please join me in thanking Jim Blake and all the staff of ARCG for representing us well. If you would like, send Jim an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a note of thanks or encouragement.