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Outreach center receives people in need with dignity

Mission Community Outreach Center exemplifies how people can be in mission locally, without packing a suitcase, paying for travel or crossing a border.

Carol Williams, a volunteer at the center, said the center serves about 50 people an hour when it is open from 1:30 to 4 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 1906 E. Mission Ave.

mission outreach center
Volunteer helping on MLK Day

A few weeks ago, a woman who received help six years ago came and told Carol how much she appreciated being treated with dignity when she came for help.

“We seek to be the hands and heart of Christ to those who come,” said Carol, who retired in 2007 as pastor of the nearby Mission Community Presbyterian Church.

When the city and county gave up the Infant Crisis Bank eight years ago, the Mission Outreach Center picked up the service, now called the Walt Shields Infant Center of Spokane County, in honor of the center’s former volunteer director.

That program provides baby formula, baby cereal and food, shampoo, lotion, disposable diapers, wet wipes, baby blankets, cribs, strollers, high chairs, car seats and prenatal vitamins that are donated.

Several women’s church groups make receiving blankets to include with the baby clothes.  Youth groups often help sort clothes.

For the Martin Luther King Day of Service, the center took several bags of donated baby clothes to the STA Plaza, where AmeriCorps service team members did volunteer projects.

Amanda Gauthier, an Ameri-Corps member, said volunteers came in shifts to sort the clothes into bags that the center will give to mothers. In each bag, they put a hat, blanket, two sleepers, two onesies and an outfit.

The center, which began in 1996 as a Christian ecumenical outreach, is volunteer run.  Services are free to qualified  low-income people. Assistance offered includes personal care items, clothing, shoes and household items.

Seasonally, the center provides school supplies and backpacks, school clothes, shoes and coats, and a Christmas party and toys.

For information, call 991-6249 or visit

Copyright © February 2009 - The Fig Tree