Blog Post #4: How Does That Work?

April 12, 2016

Blog Post #4: How Does That Work?


I’m beginning this 3-series blog post with a question that was posed to me at a party while standing over the charcuterie tray. Needless to say, we left this conversation full of shared knowledge, full of the joyful spirit of newfound friendship, and full of pancetta.  I met her with a handshake, handed her a beverage, and asked a simple question: What are you doing here? The conversation migrated into our roles in our lives and community and I mentioned I work at the Pump House. She almost came over the table at me, firing questions full of interest. “The Pump House! I’ve heard about that place! How does it work? What do you do? How do I eat there? What can I do?!”

This always takes me aback. My self-effacement nearly always kicks in and keeps me from talking about what we do. We just, you know, do it. I always feel shy about talking about myself, often making jokes to cover embarrassment, so I don’t have to say positive things. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to make us cool (seriously, no chance of that!) But I don’t have negative things to say either! We do good stuff! And I remind myself that no one will know what that good stuff is if I, or we as the Pump House whole, do not say it. So I stuck a piece of cheese in my mouth, put on my big girl pants, and said, “Well, let me tell you.”

“How does that work?”

This question can be answered pretty simply with our mission statement. The Pump House main goal is to show God’s love in practical ways. But what does that mean? It means we are interested in community. We want to reach people on a basic level. Do you need food? We can help you. We have an emergency food pantry. Do you need a fridge? Clothing? More stuff? We offer those items (and more!) to anyone who wants to shop through our thrift stores. We keep the costs of items as low as is fair for both our ministry and our customers. But you still can’t afford the things you need? We can help you with our NEEDS Program. We offer a men’s homeless shelter for those who find themselves in an unexpected transition. It’s currently under remodel so we are only housing a few men but when at full capacity we can house up to 22 men. We help smaller villages in Kenya get clean drinking water. Every day. This sounds simple, I know, but it’s a very basic need and we’ve found a way to help them get it.

We offer services that are not tied to ministry as well. Although these are not outreaches, they do help support both our ministry and our community. We have a catering facility and a textiles operation that help fund our ministry. The Pump House rents out space to other companies who, in turn, employee hundreds in our community. We offer special events and catering services. After 35 years in the catering business when the leaders at the Pump House began their ministry they turned to the business they knew to help support the ministry of their heart. The special events/catering are open to our community by reservation.

We do this because we believe you can only connect with people by relationship. We believe going out to spread Jesus’ word is best done by showing it in our daily lives. We work, play, cry, pray, laugh, and live alongside each other and help each other when we need it. One of my favorite quotes says that none of us make it out alive so we’re all in this thing called Life together. We believe wholeheartedly the best approach is helping each other in the capacity we can.


So when asked, “How does it work?” the answer is simple: It works by working together.

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