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West Side Story – one morning Reverend Marc Oehler woke up with the idea that it was time – ten years to be exact – for the congregation to give back to the community. Pastor Marc indicated that it had been ten years since the congregation returned to their beloved church after a devastating fire. A Lenten campaign was created with a goal of raising $100,000 in forty days. The purpose was “to express gratitude for the grace shown to the church and to strengthen the church’s commitment to serving those in need.

West Side invited organizations to speak about their programs each Sunday during Lent. Nancy Sampson, Chair of Missions and Social Concerns, says the five mission partners were selected because they all have some connection to homelessness. “These are all places where West Siders have had hands-on experiences helping and feeding people. ”Sarah Frink, accompanied by her 7 year old son, spoke of her growth while in the Family Promise Network and New Leaf Transitional Housing Program. She ended her presentation reporting that she had recently begun a full-time job with benefits.

On April 17, representatives from Family Promise and four other non-profit organizations received checks for over $20,000! West Side had not only reached, but surpassed their goal! This gift will be used to support job training and related support for the families in our programs.

Special thanks to Marc Oehler for his vision and to all of the members of West Side Presbyterian Church for their generosity.