From Aaron Scott, Diocesan Missioner of Anti-Poverty Organizing and Chaplain and Organizer with Chaplains on the Harbor:
Dear family in Christ and in the struggle for survival and dignity for all people,
Over the next five weeks, Chaplains on the Harbor will be sharing testimonies from our incredible staff as part of our year-end appeal. As individuals and as a team, we have come a long way in six years – from homelessness, from active addiction, from incarceration, from family separation, from a budget of $500 and backpack full of sandwiches – to a thriving staff of eleven leaders who fight daily for our own healing, our families, and our whole community, testifying before the US Senate and settling two federal lawsuits in the defense of homeless people’s human rights. If our true stories move you, please contribute to our mission. Your financial gifts fund everything from tents and tarps, to Narcan training, to tractor repairs for Harbor Roots Farm, to printing our jail and prison newsletter, to feeding and sheltering people, to hiring new staff who are getting off the streets or out of jail, to our organizing with the Poor People’s Campaign.
First up, The Rev. Sarah Monroe!
“I started Chaplains on the Harbor six years ago with a backpack and tiny grant, seeking to meet people where they were at and listen to their stories. Now, six years later, we have six meal programs a week, a robust jail and street outreach program, a farm CSA program, and reach roughly 500 people.
“We have stood with people during the worst times in their lives and have sued and settled with the city of Aberdeen twice. We have witnessed incredible suffering: we have buried dozens of people we love, we have witnessed terrible violence, we have grieved with people who have lost everything in this post industrial economy. And we have witnessed incredible courage: as people protest and fight for their right to live, as they find hope where there is so little hope, as they rebuild their lives from scratch, as they love even in the middle of overwhelming hate.
“The most amazing part of this journey, for me, has been the people who have joined us. The leaders who have come out of this movement-building project of chaplaincy have been powerful.
“We now have an eleven-person staff, the majority of whom are formerly homeless. The healing and leadership that I have witnessed in them is incredible. A young man who was once forced to sell drugs for a dealer in exchange for a place to stay is now sober, in housing, and getting his kids placed back with him, building a better life for them than he ever had himself. A young woman who once made the decision, while still homeless, to get sober to raise her unborn child is now running our meal programs and raising a beautiful daughter. One of the first people to come to our Westport programs, a woman with a heart of gold, is in charge of collecting donations. A young man who came into our cold weather shelter, thoroughly addicted to opioids, now runs our farm and is stepping into more and more leadership roles. Our shelter is run by a woman who started volunteering when she was living in a tent.
“I am so proud of each of our leaders; so proud of their courage, so proud of their hard work to make this organization what it is, so proud of their hope and their healing. I am incredibly blessed to be part of this team.
“As we move forward this year, we are working with the Diocese of Olympia to separately incorporate, to update our finance software, and to look toward acquiring property and more permanent office space. From that base, we hope to look toward expanding our work and our apprenticeship program, to build more leaders, to offer job training and support to more people, and to build stable employment in Grays Harbor County.”
To donate to Chaplains on the Harbor, follow the link below.