The snow has come, the days are nearly at their shortest, and Christmas is right around the corner. But what is Christmas if you’re homeless? Is there any hope for a “cheery and bright” holiday in the midst of loss and loneliness?
For residents and guests at Union Gospel Mission, the answer is yes. There is hope. We know the holidays are one of the hardest times of the year for many of our guests. The lack of a connected family, a safe community, or a cozy home of their own is extra painful when every reference to Christmas includes at least one of those things. In response, UGM staff, volunteers, financial partners, gift-in-kind donors, churches, and so many other members of our community join together at Christmastime to create cozy, Christmassy abundance at each of our shelters and recovery centers.
Here are just a few of the many ways our community has brought Christmas to our doorsteps this year:
Our friends at Summit Church included UGM in their Community Christmas Giving. They provided many items to be shared with our guests during upcoming Christmas celebrations—and some fresh baked holiday cookies for immediate enjoyment!
The staff at David Evans and Associates, Inc. made two large holiday donations to the Center for Women and Children in Coeur d’Alene. They collected lots of Thanksgiving food for the Center and purchased gingerbread houses for every resident to decorate.
Kris Megy and Patty Woodbridge of Encouragement ministries provided $1,000 toward gift cards for UGM Men’s Shelter guests.
Lynn Smith hand knit and donated 125 beautiful scarves which we were able to personally deliver to shelter guests.
Some dedicated friends of UGM decorated the Crisis Shelter for Christmas and helped with a little mid-December snow problem (we know you relate)! They completely cleared the north side loading area and walkways in addition to making the facility's public areas festive and sparkly.
Even our guests have brought some Christmas cheer to our community! A group of residents from Anna Ogden Hall decided to bless an elderly neighbor by shoveling her walkways and building her a cheery snowman!
Members of Trinity Baptist Church dropped by our Men’s Shelter with a generous donation and gifts for our residents. They’ve partnered with us for many years!
Collins Aerospace brought cookie decorating FUN for the women and children staying at the Crisis Shelter. They also donated a generous number of gifts to our Trees of Sharing campaign.
Owner Mike McCloskey and the team at Eclipse Excavation donated $5,000 worth of gift cards for UGM guests.
Our staff always works to create special holiday moments for current (and former!) residents. UGM Aftercare at the Center for Women and Children got together and crafted these adorable pinecone gnomes.
The Eddie Bauer Outlet donated new and gently used coats, winter wear, and duffel bags!
Jenn and Mike Bothun from Faith Bible Church have been working all year, along with other members from their church, to collect items for Christmas gift bags for UGM guests. They braved the snow and bad roads on December 10 to assemble the bags and deliver their gifts!
Current UGM resident Kallie Kohl has been lovingly documenting her and her children’s very special Christmas season at Anna Ogden Hall. And she sent a message to all staff saying, “We are grateful for your presence in our lives.”
Christmas is not just about the sparkle and fun; it’s about the love of God embodied in a man, His son Jesus Christ—God with us. When we come around our neighbors experiencing homelessness and addiction, bringing light and joy and gifts, we make the love of God tangible and pave a pathway to a better life.
This Christmas, we have a message for our neighbors in need: There is hope—not only for a cheery holiday, but for a new life. Thank you for bringing gifts to UGM and creating a safe, healing community right here in the Inland Northwest.