FERGUSON – Several churches joined together to give a Valentine to the homeless in North County St. Louis.
On Feb. 9, I Heart North County, an organization formed by Passage Community Church, Trinity Nazarene and North Church and now working with several individuals and groups, held a Valentine personal care collection party at First Baptist Church, Ferguson.
“I Heart North County was approached by a representative of the Ferguson-Florissant school district,” said Kylanne Rosenberger, executive director. “She had heard about some of the other activities that we’ve done in the surrounding community and she wondered if we could help with this need.”
Rosenberger described the need outlined by the school liaison.
“There is a real need for personal care products by families faced with the instability of living,” she said. “They need extra help while trying to get back on their feet.”
Rosenberger met with a committee of church representatives and the Valentine Collection was in the works. Mark Cote, associate, administrative and education pastor of Passage Community Church and committee member, discussed the plans for the day.
“In addition to a collection day,” Cote said, “we wanted to make it a day of family fun for both the donors and any homeless family who might attend. Our church was in charge of the games and we revamped some of our block party games to have the Valentine theme.”
According to Rosenberger, other activities for the day were planned by other committee members.
“North Church offered face painting for the children,” she said. “We also had a Valentine craft area and cookie decorating station.
“We wanted to have a place for interrelationships. The only way for change is to build relationships.”
Building relationships is the reason Passage and other churches are involved.
“Our mission is to serve the community,” Joe Costephens, pastor of Passage, said, “and Ferguson-Florissant is our community. We need to participate in our community because our ministry is about helping people in their moment of need. We need to go where they are at and not wait for them to come to us.”
Passage and First Ferguson collected personal care donations in the weeks before the event and brought large quantities. Other churches, as well as individuals, brought enough donations to fill 27 cartons. More than 40 people participated in the fun Valentine party organized by I Heart North County.