PORTLAND — It’s summer now, but the cold of winter is only months away, and a locally based Christian outreach will again seek to provide not only physical warmth but also the warmth of hope, love and dignity for many.
A volunteer effort developed out of New Song Community Church in Portland, Warm Heads and Hearts (WHH) creates and donates fleece hats and knitted scarves for the needy of the Portland-Vancouver area.
WHH started in the winter of 2017-18 and produced 108 hats that were distributed to homeless men and women through Night Strike, a Portland outreach. This past winter, 1,200 hats and 378 scarves were donated to 16 local groups. Tags are sewn into the hats which include John 10:10, which describes the abundant life Christ offers all.
Annie Noumi started the ministry with a handful of volunteers from the church. “It has been an exciting surprise to see how this ministry is benefiting the volunteers, and how much God has already been able to accomplish through this small outreach,” she said.
Noumi said it all began when the church started 10-week study groups using a discipleship program called Rooted, and halfway through the course the groups served the homeless in Portland with Night Strike.
“We handed out clothing and other necessities to a limited number of men and women who had come early enough to get a ticket for that week’s supplies,” Noumi explained. I was struck by the fact that we had no hats to hand out to these precious people who are exposed to the harsh elements. Soon after, a church sister complimented the matching set of fleece hats I had sewn for my family, and God tapped me on the shoulder. I initially thought I’d be able to gather a few ladies to sew 54 hats for Night Strike to distribute to the 27 men and 27 women they would serve in one week, but was amazed when we doubled that number.”
The volunteer list grew and in the second winter 12 times as many hats were made and a team was added to knit or crochet the scarves.
Once WHH started to grow in its production exponentially, it expanded its recipient list to include shelters, rehabilitation homes, Volunteers of America, and the Boys & Girls Club. Some of the donations this last winter went as far as Idaho and Virginia based on suggestions from the volunteer group.
“God began revealing how far he wants to take this ministry, and now I have plans to help other churches and community groups begin their own WHH chapters across the entire country,” Noumi said.
Although WHH launched at New Song, the ministry does “not belong to our church or to me,” said Noumi.” It belongs to God.”
WHH meets twice a month from September through March, and once a month from April through August, on scheduled Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sheila Sylvester co-chairs with Noumi the outreach, which has a Facebook page under the name Warm Heads and Hearts, and also has a CashApp ID to receive donations: $WarmHeadsAndHearts. For more information, contact Noumi at 360-910-2757.