Redeemer Lutheran Church members volunteered Sunday for Russell House, the Rolla-based regional domestic and sexual violence shelter. Together, congregants created 15 moveout baskets containing supplies to help families reentering life outside the shelter. Each contained everything from cleaning supplies, to cooking utensils, personal toiletries and household amenities. Volunteers also wrote hand-written uplifting messages from the church to the families.
“We are on a mission here at Redeemer to make an impact on our community, and we are trying very hard to be the hands and feet of Jesus here and beyond,” said Redeemer Pastor Nathan Kuhlman. “We know the people at Russell House are going through a hard time. We want to shine God’s love on them and let them know we care about them. We're hoping to create a partnership down the road with Russell House to keep this work going.”
Brenda Heth, chair of Redeemer’s missions board, reported 18 volunteers were working Sunday. She said the total value of the donated supplies was more than $4,000. Surplus items were also donated to Russell House.
“It's just kind of mind boggling to see the donations we’ve received, not only from our members, but also from the St. John Lutheran Church in St. James and the Walmart distribution center,” Heth said. “One of the goals of our missions board is to not only minister in other areas of the country, and abroad as well, but also here locally with a focus of reaching out to women, children, and families. Russell House is an excellent fit for that goal.”
Speaking on behalf of Russell House, Volunteer Coordinator Brooke Bell said the Sunday event was one of the best volunteer turnouts for Russell House since she began working with the organization.
“This will make a huge impact, and I know these items are very much needed,” Bell said. “I am blown away to see so many people here, and on a day it was supposed to rain too.”
The volunteering on Sunday was one facet of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s statewide SHINE! servant event. It was the second time the event has been observed in the Missouri district. Present Sunday was Rev. Bill Geis, assistant to the president of Missouri Synod focusing on missions and community engagement. He said Phelps County’s Lutherans were among the most pro-active he’s seen.
“It is so exciting to see all this. I have been working with this church for about a year and a half now and there is a strong can-do spirit here,” Geis said. “I've burned it up on the road trying to visit as many places as I can. We’ve had 120 churches that have registered for this year’s SHINE! event, which started Friday and runs through May 1. There are approximately 10,000 people who will serving all over the state of Missouri.”
Russell House's mission is to provide compassionate services to empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Its staff and volunteers work in support of the vision to end the cycle of abuse and live in a world free from violence.
All services are free, confidential and available to survivors of all genders. If you or someone you know needs help, an advocate can be reached at Russell House’s 24-hour crisis line at 800-998-8340.
Donations to Russell House can be made by visiting https://russellhousemo. org/donate/
Members of Rolla’s Redeemer Lutheran Church volunteering Sunday for Russell House during the Missouri Synod’s second annual SHINE! Servant event.
Nathan Hellwege Chris Hogan and Rachel Hogan of Redeemer Lutheran Church volunteering Sunday to create moveout baskets for families at Russell House.
Skyler Kaden of Redeemer Lutheran Church helping load up the moveout baskets donated Sunday to Russell House. More than $4,000 of supplies were donated for the SHINE! event.