We’re about two months away from our target goal to open the Alderwood Compassion Center, and we’ve been doing a lot of research in the last year. We’ve talked with our friends at Canyon Hills who run their own food ministry. We’ve talked to local schools who have a finger on the pulse of our community. The schools are aware of the families in our back yard who work and still live one medical bill away from homelessness.
As we’re considering what the operations of the Compassion Center will look like, one area we’re excited about is implementing a software-based shopping experience for those families with whom we will be ministering. Families will come once a week to shop for free food items and once a month for a meal, and we’ll have trained volunteers who engage with them and share the love of Jesus. As these folks engage with our trained volunteers, they’ll be given an iPad that allows them to order the items they need from our warehouse. The benefits we see from this are amazing.
First of all, our volunteers get to continue to engage with people while their order is being fulfilled, they don’t get up and leave to go shopping. We also hope that this digital shopping experience provides some sense of dignity for people as they get to shop as many of us are so accustomed to shopping online these days. A huge benefit is for shoppers who don’t speak English well, this software can be downloaded in 6 different languages! They can pick their language to shop in and the order will be translated into English for our fulfillment team. Another great feature of the software is a point program that can help teach budgeting skills.
Other benefits include:
- A real-time account of our inventory
- Reporting of what are the most popular selections
- More space for our inventory, with less need to accommodate shoppers
- Mobile shopping feature, if someone is not able to physically come on the night the food program is open
- No need to physically monitor how much food someone is taking. Their allotment is pre-programmed.
- A Survey feature.
This is just one of the many creative ideas that God continues to bring through divine appointments. As Arie, our Compassion Center director, continues to meet with people and cast the vision there have been many of you that offer your experience and ideas, and it’s exciting to see how God is shaping this ministry.
Please continue to pray that God would direct us in this. Your prayers are so important.
If you would like to financially partner with this ministry, check out our legacy of compassion at alderwood.cc/loc.