Interviewed: Mary Tinkham
Written by: Lisa Johnson
"Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:37,40)
Mary Tinkham brings this verse as she shares evening meals at Our Saviour's Housing Shelter. She got involved when her son Matthew entered the Confirmation program. She embraces that God calls us to help the world be a better place - and sees God at work at Our Saviour's. "They provide more than just beds and food: They try to scoop people out of the river of poverty and put them on solid footing," she says.
Mary loves to cook and says, "Feeding people is a way to show you care." In turn, her involvement in hunger related service projects, such as Our Saviour's and the 30 Hour Famine feeds her spirit. She enjoys seeing the confirmation kids come alive as they realize, "I can cook really good food and it's fun!" It was also a real "aha" for them to recognize that people in shelters are not so different from themselves."
On a personal level Mary appreciates how the experience pushes her to become more flexible and patient. She is also thankful for the personal connections she has made - both with her fellow volunteers and with those she serves.
In 1997 members of Zion Lutheran Church purchased one of the most crime-ridden buildings in south Minneapolis and named it ZOOM (Zion Originated Outreach Ministry). The 22-unit building was transformed into a program that serves families experiencing homelessness in a transitional housing program, families who are moving from welfare to work, and market rate housing for working families. Bethlehem was one of the partner churches that helped make this transformation happen. Today, ZOOM House continues to be one of our mission partners.
Bethlehem has made a commitment to adopt this local school by providing 15 mentors during this first year. Soon we will explore other ways Bethlehem can support this local school and our community. You can Reach out through PEACE locally and educate the next generation. For more information, contact Steph Smith or Pastor Beth.