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The Street Store: Oakridge SDA Church

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The Street Store: Oakridge SDA Church

Local organizations have to be careful when they ask to partner with OAC. Stephanie walked into the church on a Friday morning, ready to collect the first round of donations our church members had brought in the week before. I think she was expecting a couple plastic bags filled with worn and tattered clothes. Instead, she spent the next 20 minutes with the pastor and the office manager, piling bag after bag of quality items into her car. As the last gigantic bag was being brought out, Stephanie’s eyes got wide and she exclaimed, “Wow, you’re church is really generous.” She continued to thank us.

The next week, just as many clothes were collected. As they sorted the items, they found that instead of bringing in the junk that they wanted out of their closet, our members had brought in real, quality items that would be dignified for someone in need to recieve. Stephanie is a volunteer from Adler University, and her team had asked OAC to be a partner in collecting items for their clothing drive as they prepared to host a Street Store in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The clothing collection occurred as our congregation was studying the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, as they were committing to simplify their lives, committing to living minimally so that they could give maximally to those in need for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Adler University set up a one day pop-up shop on May 27, 2015 in a downtown neighbourhood where people are struggling and needs are great. But rather than tossing out charity, they hung up the clothes and displayed them as you’d see in a designer store. With music and refreshments, the university threw a little block party and invited those in need to shop around the store. Clean, quality items were made available for people to wear at their next job interview, at that party they were previously too embarrassed to attend, at their child’s graduation ceremony. Their confidence was increased as they received the clothes in a dignified manner.

Oakridge Church is just one community in the larger neighbourhood of the Metro Vancouver area. We stick together and help each other out. We support each other and encourage one another in hard times. And we get excited when we have the opportunity to support others in our neighbourhood. When we commit to a cause, we go all in.