I want to thank the Wednesday Journal for including information about the Walk-In Ministry in last week’s newspaper. [Walk-In Ministry turns 5, News, June 16]
The ministry provides a valuable service to those in need in our community, and it is important that people needing a hand during hard times know that we are there to assist them. I would like to take this opportunity to further clarify the nature of our ministry and the faithfulness of our volunteers and supporters.
The Walk-In Ministry was originally founded by and is currently supported by diverse faith communities in the Oak Park and River Forest area. The ministry is also supported by generous individuals in our area. The organization is most definitely a ministry, but not in the sense of preaching religious beliefs. It is a caring ministry of hope where people are treated with dignity and respect.
From the standpoint of our nonprofit charter, we are not considered a religious, faith-based organization because we do not preach or hand out religious materials, or introduce our personal beliefs with our clients. However, our volunteers and supporters are most definitely people with servants’ hearts and deep faith. We all have the faith that our good works can make a positive difference in the lives of those who come to us seeking help.
For some of our volunteers and supporters, it is their faith in God that calls them to serve. For others, it is a faith in community and belief in the greater good that underlies their desire to serve. It is our volunteers’ faithful commitment to serving others with compassion and dignity that makes the Walk-In Ministry a safe place for people seeking help to come to discuss their difficult situations.
It has been my privilege to work with and get to know so many wonderfully caring people in our community, and I thank everyone who has so generously and faithfully given of themselves to support the good works of the Walk-In Ministry.
Cristy Harris is the executive director of the Oak Park River Forest Area Walk-In Ministry, a volunteer service group that helps people struggling with poverty.