August 3, 2017: On July 27, a group of Latter-day Saints, Catholics and Adventists in the Spokane Valley volunteered to move 200 bed frames and mattresses into a new 50-unit apartment building for homeless families.
The Associated Press reports that volunteers ranging in age from the teens and up brought boxes and mattresses into Pope Francis Haven in preparation for its new residents.
To pay for the mattresses the local LDS stake had applied for and received $50,200 through the church’s humanitarian fund in Salt Lake City.
The $10.2 million Pope Francis Haven project is the fourth apartment building for homeless people built by Catholic Charities in the area recently. Two more buildings are in the works.
Cheloye Penwell, community service director for the Spokane Valley Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was key to the collaboration effort to furnish Pope Francis Haven.
She said helping vulnerable children is a passion of hers.
“The most exciting part for me has been an opportunity to work across faith boundaries,” said Penwell, “That was what I really wanted to do.”
Interfaith cooperation on humanitarian grounds happens frequently in the Spokane Valley.
A 2-acre garden owned and run by the Spokane Valley’s Adventist Church is located close to Pope Francis Haven. Its produce helps feed the poor. The garden often gets help from Mormon missionary volunteers.
The harvest is taken from the Adventist-run garden to Catholic Charities in downtown Spokane for distribution.
Rupert Salmon, who runs the Adventist church’s men’s ministry as well as the garden project, shared that a future plan is to offer gardening classes to families at Pope Francis Haven.
The plan is then to offer the gardening students produce in exchange for their assistance with garden chores.