I first learned of the Hope Center when I was at a church. I was having a hard time making ends meet. My wife and I had hit hard times. Both being of fixed incomes, did not help matters as our children needed food. It was that kind of period in your life where you are humbled by the world and seek help. The church gave me what food they could, in dry goods and peanut butter. They advised me of the Hope Center and their food distribution program. It was my wife that made the first few trips down to the Center. Every time, without fail, she came home with a great amount of food that would see us through that dreaded last week of the month.
A lot of things happened quickly, family members passed, sickness was faced and my wife and I had split. I was to be humbled yet further.
I was never actually “Homeless”, but the place I landed had no kitchen and rent was high. I found myself with only the barest of needs, living off cold cuts and imitation cheese purchased from the dollar tree.
The Hope Center was there again with the only hot meal I would receive in a day. I decided to attend Butte College and the Hope Center provided me with the clean clothes for school. Every day, I saw Richard and he wanted to pray with us. It took me a while to get used to him, decide to be honest, to allow him to pray with me. Soon, I found myself praying for him. I hope to be able to count him as my friend, a title for those who are my friends, know is hard won. Then began the park ministry. A project I was whole wholeheartedly behind from the first moment. I am the type who goes to the park and cleans up so my kids can play without worry. As we prayed that first day for God’s blessing on our action, it became very clear that this was divine action. That we were caring for the “Garden” as God had commanded us, to act in stewardship. Those who participate are treated to a pizza feast. As I sat there eating, it was very satisfying to think that this was reward for a job well done. I am a proud man, and though I ask for help meeting my needs, I need to feel like I have done some service in return.
Many things have changed in my life. I feel my place in God’s work and acted accordingly . I am very active in my home church and I have become a member of the Lion’s Club. I have also adopted the Nature Center as my pet project, cleaning up the litter and such. The Garbage bags are provided by the Hope and the Lion’s Club. The Hope Center provides me with paint , to remove graffiti . (though every time I paint they think it a fresh canvas ). There is no way I could ever repay the kindness that I have been shown but I feel compelled to try. I owe the Center and pray it will always stand to lend aid to the Community of Oroville