Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Denominations in North Spokane County pool resources to aid needy

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the July 31, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

St. Joseph Parish, Colbert, is one of five churches, along with two food banks, in a consortium that has started New Hope Resource Center to help low-income and disadvantaged people of northern Spokane County.

New Hope is located in a mobile home situated on the property of Colbert Presbyterian Church at the northwest corner of Highway 2 and Colbert road, was dedicated Sunday, July 13. Its first day of operation was July 15. The center had its first client during the dedication; a woman came in to get some gasoline.

The center will be open two days a week, to provide chore services; emergency assistance, such as gas vouchers; and help with utility bills and referrals to other services. The area served includes Colbert, Elk, Chattaroy, Mead, and Riverside.

New Hope received a Community Block Grant of about $12,000 and that money, along with financial and other support from the churches, will fund the center’s work.

A similar ecumenical effort in North Spokane, Caritas Center, was having difficulty serving clients in the Colbert-Chattaroy area. Part of New Hope’s mission is to meet those needs and ease the burden for Caritas Center.

Plans for New Hope had been in the works for more than a year. Scott Cooper, director of the Spokane Diocese Parish Social Ministries office, assisted with the planning process.

The five churches involved include St. Joseph, Colbert Presbyterian, Mead United Methodist, Northview Bible and Covenant United Methodist. The two food banks are the North County Food Pantry and Mead Food Bank.

The group’s mission statement is simple and clear: “The New Hope Resource Center is a faith-based ecumenical organization sharing the resources of the participating congregations and community to serve basic human needs in North Spokane County including the communities of Riverside, Elk, Chattaroy, Colbert and Mead. We covenant to do this without prejudice or discrimination, following Christ’s example.”

Tom Sullivan, a St. Joseph parishioner involved in the project, said about 150 people “worked behind the scenes” to get the building ready. “We had young, old, everybody,” he said. “Youth groups did landscape work and painting; senior citizens provided lunches; professional people did the wiring and plumbing. We had a lot of volunteers rolling up their sleeves.”

Sullivan compared the center to an airplane. “We’re on the runway now, about ready to fly,” he said. “Eventually we hope to have classes, such as how to interview for a job, and health classes for seniors. We’re also planning a jacket drive for kids.”

Janeen Leachman is the center’s director. Susan Russell was board chairperson for the project. The mobile home was donated by R & R RV. The space not used by New Hope is the Colbert Youth House.

The center will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The phone number is (509) 467-2900. Persons interested in volunteering or making contributions are also welcome to call.


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