When asked if they’d like to take part in the Warming Shelter Tile Project, a resounding “YES!” came from the youth of Hood River Valley Christian Church.
So, one October Sunday afternoon, Pastor Alicia Speidel and husband, Geoff, loaded everyone on the church bus for a fieldtrip to the curved wall leading up to the courthouse, where the first of three panels of tiles is already on display.
“Their enthusiasm was contagious,” said Speidel. “As we sat on the bus next to the current art display, we talked about what the Warming Shelter is and the many good things it provides for the homeless in our community. The kids asked great questions and understood the need for this crucial service. We then talked about the tile project’s theme of ‘Home’ and how people of all ages are painting images on tiles to show what ‘home’ means to them.”
The kids climbed out of the bus to take a closer look. They chatted back and forth excitedly about the meaning of “home,” what they might paint, and their ideas began to grow. Then, they piled back on the bus and were soon on the way to the church to start painting. Their artwork is now complete and will soon become part of the permanent Warming Shelter Tile Project display.
The Warming Shelter was created by the former pastor of HRVCC, and the church has continued their involvement since its inception. Speidel serves on the operations committee and assists with grant writing, and the church provides ongoing financial support. Mary Anne Parrott also actively supports Laundry Love, a source for detergent and funds for warming shelter guests to wash their belongings.
Reaching out to others is familiar to the kids at HRVCC. The first Sunday of each month is FISH Sunday, and they are in charge of gathering food and financial donations from the congregation, which they do with enthusiasm. Each year, the youth also sponsor two to three families through the community’s Christmas Project, providing food, clothing, gifts and more to local families during the holidays.
“We are proud of our youth every day,” said Speidel, “and their Warming Shelter tiles are wonderful. Each of them did an amazing job creating designs and choosing colors to depict their own personal expression of what ‘home’ means to them. We look forward to their interpretations becoming part of the courthouse display and are proud they are choosing to make a difference in our community.”