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We’re sharing the stories of ministries in congregations around the diocese, celebrating the incredible work being done on the local level. In this local ministry profile, Cindy Remick of St. Clare’s, Snoqualmie speaks about “Essential Ministry.”

I am one of two co-chairs of St. Clare Essential Ministry. Our other chair is Judy Bullard.

St. Clare Essential Ministry, in partnership with the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, provides paper and personal products: toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, feminine products, incontinence products, soap, and Kleenex to low-income families in the Snoqualmie Valley. Our clients are mostly Food Bank clients, but we have also been able to provide limited supplies to the Snoqualmie Valley Shelter and Trail Youth Organization as needed.

Judy and I both came at this from several different experiences and needs.

My husband Larry and I talked a long time about serving this kind of need in the valley based on our experiences with a homeless outreach organization in the “Jungle” (under the freeway in Seattle), especially for women when so much is focused on homeless men.
Judy and her husband Peter heard through a Rotary (spring of 2018) presentation given by a high school girl who discussed the global organization “” Girls in high school stay home from school when they have their periods each month because they cannot afford the feminine products they need. Outraged to hear that, they felt they could find a way to meet that need. Feminine products are expensive, but they are essential to every girl/woman, and it is intolerable for them to miss part of their education due to a natural function for all women.

The Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank has a small building serving a big need with extremely limited space. We also really wanted to foster a greater partnership with the food bank.
Judy and I felt that our experiences combined with the food bank’s need for storage space and a more efficient way to distribute these items created a ‘perfect storm’ for this ministry to become a reality.

In 2018, we began conversations with our vicar, the Rev. Patty Baker, and the Bishop’s Committee. Between that time and August 2019, when we pitched the idea to the food bank Executive Director, it was little more than a “Can we do this?” conversation. By October we took our proposal to the food bank board, and the idea was approved. A mere four months later, February 2020, we weathered the cold and rain to provide many of these products for the first time… then the world shut down with COVID.

If we were to give one example of the impact of this ministry, we could give hundreds. But four things come to mind:

  1. In March 2020 when toilet paper, soap, and more was in short supply, we loaded up our vehicles and took needed items to the food bank. While there were so many restrictions prohibiting our hands-on approach, we still could provide desperately needed items.
  2. Nothing beats the enthusiasm of a little girl being able to choose between new purple, pink, or blue hair bows or a little boy choosing between bubble gum or watermelon toothpaste!
  3. We have a couple of large families with teen girls and women. Because of our donations we have had a steady and sufficient supply of feminine products. This is one of our biggest needs and a big expense both for Essentials and the families.
  4. Clients are giving and forgiving. They take nothing more than they need and return what they don’t need all the while saying, “God Bless You” to us!

When we began this ministry, we had hoped to provide quarterly relief to families in need. While interrupted by COVID, we resumed in June 2020 and have been able to provide every other month. For the latter half of 2021, we will distribute product in four of the remaining five months. Our ultimate goal will be to distribute these much-needed items monthly.

What we didn’t expect was how this ministry would expand. It wasn’t even in our dreams that it would be this successful so quickly. Besides the core products we always try to provide, we collect enough items to have ‘themed’ months. Twice a year we provide new toothbrushes and toothpaste, we have a ‘cleaning’ month, providing items like laundry soap and cleaning products, and a personal hygiene month providing deodorant, shampoo, and more! Additionally, our knitter’s Prayer Shawl Ministry uses leftover yarn to knit hats and scarves which we distribute during winter months.

What support or resources do we currently need to keep this ministry running? The honest answer to this question is CASH! We have wonderful volunteers. We have been blessed with generous community donations. We work with Love Snoqualmie Valley’s annual product drive and other drives. But cash gives us the ability to purchase items that are not in sufficient supply. We supplement our toilet paper, feminine products, and diapers with bulk purchases.

Our message is not about our ministry, but to other small churches: small churches can do BIG things when there is passion and buy-in for a common goal. Judy and I had a big idea and no way to know what would happen. Despite COVID restrictions and having to adjust our methods almost immediately, we persevered and have distributed nearly 5,000 rolls of toilet paper, hundreds of rolls of paper towels, allowed girls to attend school during their periods, diapered many baby bottoms, and so much more. If a small, but mighty, congregation can make this impact, why not your congregation?

If you would like to donate to “St. Clare Essential Ministry” and help support this vital ministry of St. Clare, Snoqualmie, you can do so by following the link below.


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Locally Centered Ministries: “Essential Ministry” from St. Clare’s, Snoqualmie

One thought on “Locally Centered Ministries: “Essential Ministry” from St. Clare’s, Snoqualmie

  • July 30, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    What a wonderful example of finding a need and filling it. St. Clare’s church and the good people in the Snoqualmie Valley are to be commended for their practical approach to the Great Commission.


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