Finding thanksfulness in despair
Angela Williamson | November 25, 2021
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for so many Americans, who take the chance to step back from their lives for a moment and to look at everything they have been blessed with. For some, this is a time for the whole family to come together under one roof. Others might have a small but meaningful meal together. But for some people, Thanksgiving is a time like – or sometimes worse than – any other, where they might be reminded instead of what they don’t have to be thankful for.
The historic neighbourhood in Lowell, downtown Fresno, shelters residents with a huge diversity but a strong sense of community. The Lowell community has also been identified as a community of concentrated poverty. Over 40% of its residents live below the US poverty line. The community is hurt by family trauma, homelessness, gangs and drugs; and is in serious need of physical, spiritual, emotional and social healing and freedom a cycle of loss.
Our volunteers work relationally – alongside individuals and families, facing overwhelming situations, such as involvement with the Child Protection Services, unemployment, issues with immigration status and physical needs and nourishment.
We aim to meet the needs of this community holistically and, through everything, point the way towards Jesus and His truth and calling on each individual. We minister through our witness, through weekly Sunday services and adult Bible studies and through our annual Family Camp.
We work with the next generation, the youth, providing mentoring relationships, youth group and discipleship group, opportunities for summer and winter camp, summer internship programs and missions trips. Alongside this, we provide opportunities for civic engagement and advocacy, encouraging youth in continuing education through the Lowell Neighbourhood Scholarship, and work towards job skills and employment.
Above all, we lift the name of Jesus, knowing the joy and strength that comes through a relationship with Him and the hope we have in the Gospel. A time of national celebration, like Thanksgiving, can either lift your spirit or crush it. Help us to make Thanksgiving a time of hope, joy and thankfulness for the Lowell community in Fresno, California.
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