On Wednesday night, I visited the Cold Weather Shelter at Pasadena Covenant Church, operated by Friends in Deed in January and February. Every night, about 75 adults are fed and given a cot to sleep on in a medium-sized gym space. They are not let in until 8 p.m. and lights are out at 10:00 p.m. In between the time they eat and bedtime is when Neighborhood Church Care Through Practitioners offer free massage for shoulders, back, arms, hands, neck, and head. We have seven this year, with at least two of us there three times a week. I will offer the training again next December.
Sometimes we get there before 8 p.m., when the homeless families arrive to await a van that takes them to a different shelter. One of us, Robin Robinson, has been massaging some kids. When I asked her how this was, she replied in an email,
“Yes, Hannah, the kids are wonderful. They are enthusiastic, usually talkative, and on this past Tuesday, a 5-year-old named Marissa enjoyed it so much, she jumped up off the stool when I was finished and gave me a massage. (I have witnesses!) And, she totally remembered all the moves, including the whirligig and the finger pull. She was amazing. This tops the former Olympic athlete who cried, as my most memorable massage, so far.”
Neighborhood UU Church offers all kinds of service and giving opportunities. Many are sophisticated, like the skills-based volunteering one can find at Jericho Road Pasadena, or the high-stakes advocacy work of our Green Council. But the beauty of our Caring Through Touch program is in its simplicity. Giving a ten minute massage to someone who can really use it is a basic act of caring and compassion. It is a simple gift, one of the many NUUC members and friends are encouraged to give to our world, a world in great need of simple gifts of kindness.
Thank you, everyone, as you make your pledge this year, for supporting all the programs at our beloved congregation that seek to help make the world a better place, one simple gift at a time.