“After 15 years at Columbia Jr High, I started my current position as a paraeducator in the Community Access Transition (CAT) program, with Fife High School in September 2017. I went into the job only knowing I would be working with Special Needs students that had graduated high school but remain in the program until they are 21. My instructions were to get the students into the community, have fun, walk two miles a day, and teach job skills, “Here are keys to the van you will use. Pick up your five boys and we will see you in the afternoon.”
With rose colored glasses and knowing (I thought) enough people in the community, I started going to businesses and offering our services. I had never before heard so many no's as I did in those 2 to 3 long weeks.
I had driven by The LightHouse StoreHouse Food Center almost every day, sometimes even 10 or more times. Like so many in our community, I hadn’t taken notice. After another day of no’s, something told me to stop there on my way home one day.
Ken, the Director, met with me and listened to my story; then asked when we could start!! What a yes!!!! Praise God!!! Thank you!!! I know I shed a tear on the way home!!! Our first job!!!! We showed up completely unaware of what our jobs would be. Ken would let me know what needed done and then would instruct the boys on what to do.
Ken and the other staff at The LightHouse StoreHouse Food Center have given these boys a sense of belonging, a place where they can succeed and do good for others; a place for them to be themselves and to be cared for.
Because of this opportunity The LightHouse StoreHouse has given us, these boys that started out only doing what I told them to do, now are able to take instructions from various other people, they can start and do jobs without being told and they can find work to do on their own.
The boys have grown so much in the months that we have been there; specifically, a non-verbal student now will greet others and introduce himself. A student that would avoid work now steps up and is the first to help load ministries (which includes building pallets and loading trucks). Another student that did not want to work now brags to others the jobs he does. One student that had to be told and shown step by step exactly what to do can now follow 2 step instructions. A student that had very little self-worth walks with his head a little higher and knows he is loved and worthy of that love.
I have to separate school from church, but the boys do not. On more occasions than not I observe the boys praying with the ministries, I hear the boys saying “Bless you”. To look out and see the boys holding hands with their fellow brothers and sisters and actively engaged in prayer tears me up every time.
For me personally, I was unsure of my faith. I do believe in God, I am saved, I do live a good life, just unsure of where I stand. The LightHouse StoreHouse Food Center has shown me what strength in God means. To be in a place, that isn’t even a religious organization, where so much love is shown for their fellow brother and sisters is truly a blessing. The LightHouse StoreHouse Food Center provides not only food for the body but food for the soul and heart. The LightHouse StoreHouse provides a place to be unconditionally loved by God and others and to love God and others.
I know that it was the hand of God that told me to stop on that day in September. Because of the work and mission of The LightHouse StoreHouse Food Center, not only have our lives and the lives of those close to us been touched, these boys have been set up for a more successful future.” ~Kim Elliott~
"LightHouse StoreHouse helped our church set up a food bank to help out the community and church members. After the church disbanded we kept the food bank going by delivering to homes; LightHouse StoreHouse has kept us going. They also give out food every Saturday at Pastor Banks church, Bread from Heaven Church, which is a great help to the community, some people may work during the week and need that extra assistance. Last year I was injured at work which cut my income to less than half, my wife also was not getting hours at work due to surgery as she was having to fight her breast cancer, LightHouse StoreHouse has been great in helping us with food for well over a year. I don’t know how we would of made it without the LightHouse StoreHouse!" ~Ronnie Adams~