40th Anniversary Celebration

A message from Project Understanding

Welcome to 2017! We are overwhelmed with gratitude at Project Understanding because this year we are beating all the odds for a community-based nonprofit organization. We are celebrating 40 years of transforming lives and community, 1977–2017!

What does that look like day by day? This afternoon, December 20, I tried to get our Pantry Manager’s attention, but she was busy on the phone with a grateful, weeping victim of domestic violence. Gem recently rescued her four children from her violent husband with only the clothes on their back–no toys, not even extra underwear. Their Christmas tree was empty till someone sent her to Project Understanding and our Adopt-a-Family program. Gem is overwhelmed with gratitude…and hopeful for her children’s future. About 300 kids will receive a similar blessing.

In November Project Understanding worked with individuals, businesses and congregations to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for 1,100 people in need. Most people came to our Food Pantry to pick up the fixings for their meal, but one mom sent us an apologetic text message. Her teenagers were in school, and she was stuck in bed with her chronic illness. Our Pantry manager, Janine Dykstra, jumped in the van and delivered the food personally. She said, “‘Literally, when we walked into the kitchen, there was nothing in there.” Counters and pantry–empty. “In the refrigerator there was a gallon of milk, a jar of jelly and two sticks of butter.” With this family’s ongoing need, we will continue to deliver groceries regularly.

What does 2017 hold in store? That is up to you! This week, working together, we will tutor more than 300 children. This month, we will help homeless neighbors move into homes. This month, First Step Center and Food Pantry will connect 800–1,000 people to critical community resources, including groceries. We will report their successes in the regular Transformation Update that we publish by email. Send us your email address so that you can witness these personal stories.

Most of the people Project Understanding serves are helped by volunteers. The funding that has kept Project Understanding going for almost 40 years is individual donations from you, local businesses and congregations.

As we celebrate our 40 years, we have a major invitation for you. Team up as one of the first 40 partners to pledge $40 per month for one year! Sign up on our web site donation page, or call our office at (805) 652-1326 to set up your pledge. You will transform lives and your community!