About a year ago, we were asked, by a local family, for Love Inc’s list of needs. We answered, “mattresses and storage.” That simple question led to the free use of a large building at 1215 Commercial Street and partnerships with Mystery Thrift and We Care. Mystery Thrift donates 15% of their sales to Love Inc each month. We Care, a deeply discounted clothing thrift store, was in need of a new lease and leadership.
News recently came that 200 mattresses were ready to be donated. We set to work figuring out how to store them and if they would fit in the space. The truck would arrive during business hours within a 4 day window and we would have a couple of hours to unload it into the storage space in the new building. The question was, “How do we plan a work party with no exact time or date?” We set about praying that the truck would arrive on February 20th, a school holiday, and asked a local youth group to unload. News came that the truck would arrive at 11 AM on the 20th. Then the week before, news came that the truck would not arrive until 4 PM. The youth group graciously agreed to come later. On the morning of the 20th, the truck driver called to say he would be there at 7 PM. The youth were not able to reschedule, so the search for enough volunteers to unload began. Kellie texted everyone in her phone who might possibly be available. The goal was 15 people. Over the course of the day, various people responded yes or no, but it looked like at least 10 would show up. By mid afternoon, the time for arrival had been delayed to 8 PM. The texts went out again changing the time. At that point, it was apparent that only God could make this work and we tried to set our stress aside and rely purely on faith. In the late afternoon, Kellie got a text from a college group of 15 kids that they would be there at 8:00. Relief washed over her.
At 8:00 PM, people started pouring into the building and the truck driver called again to say he’d be there closer to 9. Forty five people showed up to unload that truck. During the wait, an impromptu worship and prayer time began. Voices lifted in praise could be heard up and down the alley in the dark of downtown Bellingham.
At 9:15, we heard the roar of the semi engine and everyone poured out into the street to welcome him. Not only were there mattresses on that truck, but there were 320, most of which were shrink wrapped and in boxes. Our worries about them all fitting, staying dry and being delivered were all solved.
People began referencing the loaves and fishes. We needed 15 people and God sent 45. We hoped for 200 mattresses and God sent 320. We worried how we would keep them in good condition and God wrapped them in plastic. We worried how we would deliver them and God sent them compressed in boxes.
The number of requests for mattresses in our county is high, and we are excited to help the church meet the need.