Posts tagged Serving
Volunteer Opportunities At Alderwood Elementary

In the past few months since Redeemer began partnering with Alderwood Elementary we have provided Christmas gifts, volunteered in classrooms, played at recess, helped in the cafeteria and volunteered with the after-school clubs. We are learning names and recognizing faces. We are being asked to do a bit more and trust is being built. 

Here is what one Redeemer volunteer said about their time at Alderwood:

“My time at Alderwood has been awesome! The staff is so welcoming and really loves having us there. It’s awesome to be there and have a teacher ask if you are from Redeemer and thank you for spending time at the school. What a great opportunity for a church to come alongside Bellingham school district staff and serve these kids. 

Each Wednesday I head outside to play with the kiddos. I honestly just thought I would help push some kiddos on the swings but I have been playing football and basketball with a group of boys. It’s so much fun!! There is one first grade boy that comes and finds me each time I’m there and asks me to play. These kids love having an adult that can just come and play with them. Making these connections with the kids playing sports outside has allowed opportunity for me to then come sit with them at lunch and get to know them more. 

I am really enjoying my time and through getting to know theses kids, some of their stories, and just spending 1.5 hours a week hanging out it has been such a blessing to me. What a great opportunity to serve our God by playing with these kids and serving our city!”

If you’ve been looking for a time to start serving at Alderwood might this be it? The school is looking for some after-school helpers for their Spring clubs. Volunteers for the clubs play an important part in helping the students to feel connected in a supportive community, and providing positive role-models, just by showing an interest in what the kids are doing and in who they are. 

Alderwood offers a huge selection of clubs (14 to be exact) ranging from Futsal to Coding! We hope you’ll take some time to browse over the different after school programs offered to see what appeals to you. All clubs will be running for 8 weeks starting on April 17th and the time commitment is just once per week. 

If this will be your first time serving with the after-school clubs or you’ve done it before you will be required to attend an orientation due to some changes the program is making. There are multiple dates available for the orientation in efforts to make it as convenient as possible. 

If volunteering is something you’d like to do, and you know what club you are interested in, or you have any questions please contact

Stories From Alderwood Elementary

As you know, Redeemer has become a community partner with Alderwood Elementary. Alderwood is one of Bellingham’s 14 Elementary schools in the district. Alderwood is on the smaller side and is situated in the Birchwood neighborhood, close to the airport. Partnering with Alderwood isn’t just a short-term commitment. We are looking ahead over the years to come. Bit by Bit and day by day the students there start to recognize our faces. They will start responding to our smiles. They will begin to learn that Redeemer is there to stay!

We wanted to share about some different areas we are serving in the school:


 “Recently I had my first “shift” serving at Alderwood. I and a few others have signed up to volunteer in the cafeteria for about an hour and a half while the students eat lunch. During that time we put on a pair of gloves and help kids open milk containers, hand out napkins, and answer any questions they may have. If we arrive early, we even get to play with the kids on the playground before the bell rings! 

We also get to spend time at the Art Table which is where the older students can be once they’ve finished their lunch. We are just there to show an interest in what the kids are doing and in who they are. Truth be told they ignored me the first day I was there. Some would look up when I asked a question others wouldn’t even acknowledge that they heard me. According to the para-educator, Sarah, who runs the lunch room that isn’t surprising. These students have seen a ton of transition over the last year. In the cafeteria, alone, there have been seven previous lunchroom paras. None until Sarah have stayed all citing it “too much.”  

According to Sara she even has a difficult time finding subs, because many people find Alderwood “too hard.” So, you see these kids, and the staff, aren’t used to people sticking around. They think I’m just another face that won’t be returning. But, that is something that we, at Redeemer, are hoping to change for them in the weeks, months, and years ahead.  One milk carton and one art project at a time.” 

Builders Club

“I have served at the Builders Club after school program.  It has been a real blessing so far, and I have noticed the kids enjoying too.  The club is an after school program where the kids come get a snack, then go out to the playground for 15 mins and then we do Builders club where you build the “theme of the day” in Legos.  It has been eye-opening and fun to get to know some of the children in the club and also to ask questions about how life is like for them and to honestly just be a stable person that shows care for them.

The first time we went to Builders Club, and we were getting ready to leave. We felt like we had a great time but weren’t quite sure the impact we had. But as we were leaving some of the kids came over and said “ARE YOU COMING BACK NEXT WEEK!!??” and I said “SOMEONE IN OUR GC WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK” and then one of the girls chimed in “No, are YOU coming back next week…please please please?”  It just helped us understand that even when we think we may just be there being helpers, it makes an impact on these kids.” 

There are serving opportunities available at Alderwood either on an ongoing basis or a one-time Breakfast and Book event. If interested or you have any questions, please email Kelli Potts:

Showing Up

This week's blog was written by Theresa Adams, a wife and mother who loves to tap dance. 

Showing up. Getting into it. How much about this do any of us really get?

How do we turn up for someone when they are in a crisis? When they are suffering?

Showing up can be hard, messy, difficult, uncomfortable, and did I say hard? When you purposefully choose to meet someone in a difficult place it is anything but simple.

You may question yourself, fend off insecurities and wonder what you did that day that made you sound like an idiot/uncaring/self-absorbed person. Showing up is something that all of us, no matter the stage of life we are in, will one day experience.

We will either make the choice to show up or we will need people to show up for us. Maybe it's just me, but I'd like to be a lot better at giving and receiving so that when the time comes I won't be immobilized. I won't think that they have people closer to them that have it. I won't allow the lack of relationship to hold me back. Nor, when I find myself in need for me or my family, will I freeze and not know how to welcome them in. I've already done that.

Opening Up

For years it seemed like my family was living in lean times. People close to us knew. It was obvious that my husband lost his job. That we weren't able to join in when people went on fun outings or out to dinner. We always wore the same clothes. We kept the smiles plastered to our faces. The thing about being in hard times was that we knew it was hard. We were living it. We didn't want to spend any time talking about it. We didn't want it to get more airtime than it deserved. We thought that if we kept the smile in place and the questions at bay that the difficult time we were enduring would be easier to live with.

And that worked. For a time.

Until, finally, I just had to get it out. To admit how hard it was to not even be able to buy toothpaste. To admit how humbling it was to be at the food bank. And once I started letting people in and sharing how tough of a place it truly was to be losing our home, to know we didn't know where we were going to go, to know we just wanted to be able to celebrate Christmas with our kids then things started feeling a bit easier.

Nothing changed in our day to day circumstances, mind you. We still had the same amount in our bank account but it became a little easier to breath. People who had been watching us from afar were invited closer. They were relieved to be able to "do something”. They loved on us in countless ways from listening, to anonymous checks in the mail, to providing housing for us, to providing Christmas for our family.

By letting people in our tanks, which had been on empty, were suddenly overflowing. Those full-to-the-brim tanks enabled us to continue on, to be encouraged, fueling us for the remainder of that tough season.

So, may I just encourage you that if you are in a hard place it is completely okay to let people in on it. There is no bravery in keeping it to yourself. There is no gold star at the end for being stoic. It is, rather, a sign of courage to let others in. To invite them into the trenches. To have them mourn alongside you. They won't always get it right, but it's far better than going at it alone.

Showing Up

At times we will find ourselves not on the receiving end, but on the end where we want to give. We want to show up, but we aren't sure how. We say "Let me know if I can do anything" but often that blanket offer of help can be overwhelming to those hearing it. They may not even know what their needs are much less how you can help. Here are a couple of things that just might help us know to to show-up a little better.


Seems obvious, right? But so often when our people are going through something difficult we want to do something tangible for them. Something more that "just" pray. Or sometimes the stuff our people are going through is long. We pray for a while and then we sense their situation will be one of long suffering and we give up on prayer for we don't see any relief. coming their way. Prayer can not only equip us to show up better it can also work on behalf of our people. It is a way that God has given us to give our burdens over to Him. He doesn't always answer according to our timeline nor according to our wishes, but each time we lift up a prayer to Him He is hearing it with fresh ears. He never tires of our requests, so why should we?


Another obvious one, right? I think we all know that meals can be a huge way we can show up for people. Whether they've had a baby, are going through a divorce, just received a difficult diagnosis or lost someone dear to them, no matter what it is they are eventually going to need to eat. And not having to think about planning or preparing said meal can be a huge relief.

If cooking isn't your jam then think gift cards which can be an immense blessing. Or try bringing breakfast foods instead of a dinner. Someone dear to me was going through chemo and she said one way she was shown great love was when others brought their kids sack lunches. Sandwiches, fruit, cheese, maybe a juice box. Brilliant. Helpful. And no culinary degree required.

Keep in mind if there may be many people contributing meals so an excessively large meal is not necessary as there will also be many leftovers. This is not something I've ever thought about before, but my “Showing Up Adviser” told me how much time and energy it can take to package, freeze or store the leftovers.

Don't Ask. Just Do.

When I asked my person who had fought cancer what advice she would offer to those wanting to help, her sage advice was "If you really want to help, don't ask. Kindly, but firmly say what it is you are going to come help with. For example: ‘I would like to come over and clean your bathrooms, or do your laundry or clean up your kitchen. What is a good day for me to do this?’. The person probably feels physically pretty crummy and discouraged about how much they can't do, but human nature makes it really hard for us to accept the offer of help. But when a friend says, ‘I love you and I am coming to do this for you’… that's a gift."

These suggestions are not exhaustive by any means. But they are a start for when we know we want to show up but have no idea where to begin.

I think an important piece of the puzzle is to remember you won't get it right every time. You don't need to have the polished words, the perfect verse or the best cup of coffee. Sometimes you just need to be there. To listen. To not say anything at all or to just simply sit in silence.

Regardless of how you show up or how others show up for you it's the love behind it that really stands out.

Love As He Loved Us

This blog post was written by Theresa Adams, a Redeemer member, wife and mom, who would love to have her own roller skating rink & thinks getting her kids to eat kale is a major victory!


Loving others. Serving others. Meeting needs. All of those things can seem so daunting. So overwhelming. It can be paralyzing to know even where to begin. Sometimes people do get immobilized and don't even start. They think the circumstances have to be just so. They think when their kids get older when they have more spare time when they don't have such a heavy class load when they find a cause that breaks their heart then they will begin. I get it. I was that person. I wanted to "do something." I wanted to be a drop in the bucket that would turn into an ocean of loving, compassionate acts. But I didn't even know where to begin. I didn't know what broke my heart. What would make me weep? Sometimes I didn't even want to know that a need was out there. 

When you are living in oblivion/innocence/ignorance, it is so effortless to look the other way. Once you are made aware, it makes it near impossible to go on living without doing something. There is no going back to blissful naivety once you've become acquainted with a need. It's like Nehemiah. He was a Jew, born in Persia during the exile, so he didn't know Jerusalem other than he had relatives there. When he inquired as to the conditions among the Jews there who had survived exile in Jerusalem he went from being unaware of having his heart wrecked. "They told me, "The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still in rubble; the city gates are still cinders." When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven." (NE 1:3,4) The need was not directly affecting Nehemiah, yet he wept. For days. He sought God and then he set out to meet the need.

Perhaps you think: God wouldn't use me.  Why in the world when He has his pick of all the great, kind, loving people on the planet would He ever want to use the likes of me to accomplish something for His Glory? Why would He entrust me to love others?  To serve others? With my past? With my weaknesses? With my judgmental tendencies?  With my greed? With my selfishness?  With my potty mouth? With my grades? Whatever the reason you think you aren't "good" enough to accomplish something for His purpose have you ever thought that when we say we are incapable of being used by Him that we are saying He's made some mistake?  

God made each one of us perfectly and intentionally. He doesn't make mistakes.  It's not as though He had some terrible no-good-very-bad-day when He was creating you.  He knows you from the hairs on your head to the tips of your toes.  He knows your thoughts, your words, your heartbeat and the rhythm of your soul. It's because of the exquisite detail that makes you -you- that no one else can accomplish what you can. No one else can meet a need in the specifically same way as you. No one else can love as you love. Your gifts, skills & compassion differ from mine. What breaks my heart may not break yours. 

If you find yourself longing to "do something"  to serve your neighborhood, your city, your county, your campus, but you don't know what said something is can I encourage you to pray about it? To ask God what breaks your heart? He will be faithful and reveal something to you. He did to me. Years ago it was human trafficking that first gave an awareness to the myriad of needs of our world, country, state, county. And I began small. Sending letters & cards to a shelter in Greece that housed women freed from trafficking. Then it was building an awareness of what went on in our county and connecting with local resources.

 Since that time there have been many different opportunities I've been able to take part in: from giving my credit at a consignment store to a homeless woman so she could buy clothes with dignity, to having garage sales for at-risk-teens, to providing Christmas presents to kids whose parents were unable to provide one of their own.. I don't share this with you as a "look-at-me-I've-got-it-all-figured-out" kind of pat on the back, because truly, I am pretty sure I mess up & miss opportunities on a regular basis. 

What I hope to do by sharing with you is to encourage you. I too once wanted to love others. I wanted to "do something," I wanted to help to serve to make a difference. Sometimes I wonder if that is what Jesus meant when he told his followers: "Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (John 13:34,35)  He didn't say people would know we were set apart because of the fish logo on the back of our cars. Nor by the verses & well-meaning quotes we share on Facebook. Not even by the in-depth knowledge of doctrine we may have. None of which are insignificant.  But by our love. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think it's by the feeling of love, but rather the action. An outpouring of activity regardless of the outcome. Regardless of what we gain in return. Love as He loved us.

 If your heart is to love others (Or you want to have that heart) and you'd like to serve alongside those in our county who are already meeting a need here are some possibilities. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a start. And isn't that what we need sometimes? Just a start?


Serving Roosevelt Elementary One Backpack At A Time

(Written by Theresa Adams)

Serving our city has been an ongoing conversation at Redeemer. We wanted it to be something tangible and something that would foster relationships with those in our community. We looked around and as you can imagine Bellingham has many needs. It can actually be overwhelming to consider all of the needs and even immobilizing to know where to begin. We hope you agree that by choosing to serve Roosevelt Elementary this summer in our first ever Backpack Drive that it will be a great stepping stone to serving our beautiful Bellingham. 

To some Roosevelt Elementary is known for it's tough (some might call it neglected) exterior. To others it's known for it's Title 1 Reputation. To me (and a few other Redeemer parents) it's known for far more than it's brick & mortar exterior. It's more than it's untended or out-of-date flowerbeds. It's even more than the staggering percentage of kiddos who qualify for free lunch.  You see the school itself has very little to do with the building at all. The heart of the school is the vast array of kiddos & the staff, administrators, teachers & parents who love these kids. They work together tirelessly to ensure the students not only have a high-standard of learning but that they also get to do things like garden or paint a mural. Such simple things many of us would take for granted, but when experienced by so many kiddos who come from homes that just don't have quite enough you're able to see what a special place it is. 

Roosevelt would love to be able to provide back packs to new registering students who don't have the option to go out & buy one. The school would also love to be able to replace back packs for kiddos who are unable to do so but who's bags have seen better days. We hope that by joining together, as the church and provide backpacks for these students that we will be able to lift a bit of a burden from some of these families. The school also has a need for underwear, leggings (for girls) & sweats (for boys)  Often times kids need replacement items throughout the day and unlike many schools Roosevelt chooses not to ask for the items back. Quite simply they believe that the kiddos need the clothes more than the school does & it's evidenced as the kids can usually be found wearing the items the remainder of the year.

Here Is How You Can Help

Over this next year we will have three giving stations located at Redeemer Church (Sanctuary, Redeemer Kids and Commons Building). Every Sunday someone will take those items that you purchase to Roosevelt Elementary School. So if you are out shopping for yourself or your family, please pick up one of the following items listed below and bring it to Redeemer Church for Roosevelt Elementary.

If you are super busy with life and have no time to shop, don't worry, you can still help out. Below are links to and if you purchase these items through these links, Amazon will donate a small amount of the proceeds to Redeemer Church so we can put money back into Roosevelt Elementary. And if you are still to busy, and don't want to forget to bring the items you purchased online feel free to have the items shipped to: (Dane Burgess 820 32nd St Apt 57 Bellingham, WA 98225) 

And he will make sure to take the item to Roosevelt for you.