Christian schools celebrate 50th donation to mission

Jenna Jech and Isabella Zecchino load donated food items into boxes before they are placed into a Union Gospel Mission truck last Wednesday.

Photo by Jennie McGhan
Jenna Jech and Isabella Zecchino load donated food items into boxes before they are placed into a Union Gospel Mission truck last Wednesday.


Students pour out the Sunnyside Christian Elementary School gym doors with bags and boxes laden with food destined for Union Gospel Mission last Wednesday.

— It was the day before Thanksgiving, and all were gathered around to hear a special message delivered by two special guests.

The Sunnyside Christian Elementary School was filled with the very young, as well as adults as donations poured in for Union Gospel Mission.

Celebrating 50 years of giving, students, parents, siblings and staff heard the mission’s director Mike Johnson talk about the importance of service.

His organization serves the homeless, and one woman who sought its services also shared her story.

Johnson said, “It’s hard to ask for help.”

But anyone who has difficulty doing so is normal.

God created people to need one another. He also created people with a need to serve one another.

“God hasn’t made us like deer,” Johnson said.

We need to be taken care of when we are babies, and we need to take care of one another, he said.

“Serving is good for us… we’re our best selves when we are for others.”

Danielle Bronson, 33, moved to Union Gospel Mission on March 1.

She was an alcoholic, grew up as a Navy brat, had a father who was an alcoholic and was raised Catholic.

“I lacked discipline,” Bronson said.

A lack of boundaries led to her addiction to alcohol. A lack of feeling she belonged contributed to it.

Changing schools in both the seventh and eighth grade led her to feeling she didn’t belong.

“I turned to alcohol,” Bronson said.

Through her walk with Christ, learning skills in the New Life program at the mission, she learned how to be the person “… God created me for.”

Citing Hebrews 12:10, Bronson said she learned God’s discipline is for one’s own good.

The consequences of a person’s lack of discipline will be its own form of discipline, she said.

“The process hasn’t been easy,” Bronson said.

She likened the process of transformation to oil being pressed from olives.

Johnson said there is a reliable predictor of homelessness… childhood experiences.

“Sometimes kids deal with bad problems and sometimes those kids break,” he said.

Needing assistance is nothing for which anyone should be ashamed. “They give others a chance to serve,” Johnson said.

He expressed gratitude for Sunnyside Christian Schools and the 50-year tradition of serving others before the students of the schools loaded the donations into a truck waiting to go back to the mission.


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