Blessings Under the Bridge
Last spring, the Colfax High School ASB spent an evening in Spokane working with “Blessings Under the Bridge,” an organization whose mission is to help the homeless and those down on their luck. This event happens every Wednesday night under the I-90 bridge in downtown Spokane, WA. People in need bring their kids, friends, and pets to enjoy a meal and gather some basic necessities that are provided each week.
A family friend and neighbor, Greg, spoke about this at church one Sunday and I suggested it would be a great thing for our ASB to do as a community service opportunity. Because of the complexity of getting everything set up and organized each week, we couldn’t just show up randomly but had to schedule with the organizers so they would know we were coming and have work for us to do. When we scheduled our time, Greg let us know that we could bring something to hand out at the event if we wanted to. We brainstormed and decided to bring backpacks. We pushed our student body to bring as many backpacks as they could – new or old – for us to take up. Greg also suggested food for animals because many of the people have pets. Our ASB purchased some dog and cat food and we bagged up individual portions to hand out along with the back packs.
After weeks of planning, our Wednesday night came around and we loaded up in a couple Suburbans after school and drove the sixty miles to Spokane. We got there around 5:30 and there was already a line of people waiting to go in when the gates opened at 6:30. Greg and the organizers gave us color-coded lanyards to designate which areas we would be helping with. We began by setting up numerous tables for all the stuff that people were going to bring. Clothes, blankets, food, our dog and cat food and backpacks were all going to be given out. Several of us guys grabbed brooms and swept the pavement and streets to try to make the place a little cleaner.
Our ASB worked in different areas once the gates opened and people started coming in. Some were handing out the backpacks, some were handing out the dog and cat food, others helped hand out clothes that people brought. My friend, Cody, and I got to help hand out food. We stood in the soup line and made sure people did not take more than what was allowed.
When everyone was done eating and getting all that they needed, we cleaned up. We took down all the tables and loaded them back onto trucks and trailers and headed home. You would never know that there had been a huge gathering there – it was back to being an empty lot under the interstate.
On our way home, we stopped at McDonald’s and reflected on the event. The experience really changed all of our perspectives. We realized how fortunate we are just to be able to go out and buy a McDonald’s hamburger with no problem whatsoever. Not only did this experience change our view on life, but we had fun doing it. Our ASB is planning to make another trip in the future and we are looking forward to helping in any way that we can.
Learn more at BUTB.org.