Albany, Oregon by: Pastor John Leon, Executive Director, 6/13/2017
God has always had a special place in his heart for the poor and destitute. Listen to his instruction as he formed Israel into a young nation at the time... “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be...You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake (Deut. 15:7-8, 10).”
We should be able to understand from this passage, God not only loves all people, but he is particularly close to the most vulnerable of our society. It has always been this way for God. God loves the poor. So much so, he promises to bless that person in all they do, if that individual will take the time to meet the needs of the poor.
Albany Helping Hands has always been God’s ministry and mission. Yes, it was born in the heart of one man, Pastor Les Bailey, who only wanted to do what God wanted, and that was to help the poor, thus, the name, “Helping Hands.” Because of his love for God, Pastor Bailey began fixing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of his garage and distributing the “meal” to the needy in various neighborhoods of our community. He would be the first to tell you, he did not envision the mission AHH would become to our community. But, Pastor Bailey is certainly grateful to witness and experience firsthand, from the beginning to the current status, God’s many blessings on this ministry to the poor. On occasion, you can always hear Pastor Bailey say, this is the “mission, love built.”
Today, we provide over 7000 meals a month, as well as shelter, and clothing. We also provide other resources that help people with future housing, job placements, and mentoring vocational skills that will lend toward the rebuilding of a broken life. But most important, we give people hope. We want people to know they have worth, and they can have a life worth living, because they are invaluable as a living soul, made in the image of God.
Personally, it is a marvelous opportunity and privilege to be entrusted as God’s steward for such an awesome endeavor, one that is close to the very heart of God. Therefore, we are available through our various resources to give those who are hurting, a helping hand, with hope and love for anyone in need!
Pastor John Leon