Church volunteers make Valentine’s Day treat bags for shelter residents

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 4:40 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Valentine’s Day may be a time to show love to people we care about, but at St. John United Methodist, volunteers are making valentines for people they don’t even know.

St. John is one of six Anchorage churches where volunteers are assembling treat bags to take to shelter residents at the Sullivan Arena. Christi Foist, who organized the project, said it’s been difficult for church members to know how to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A couple of us at Central Lutheran were talking about this and realized, maybe we could do something with Valentine’s Day, like making cards for them,” Foist said. “Because with COVID, you know, we could show love in that way, and not have to worry about masking or getting too close.”

The treats include a pair of warm socks, candy and a homemade card. Foist said the goal is to make nearly 500 bags to ensure that every shelter resident gets one.

“It’s a way to say, you know, ‘we haven’t forgotten you,’ and it’s an extra challenge right now as people are in the Sullivan Arena,” said St. John Pastor Emily Carroll. “It’s easy for us to not think about the challenges they face day in and day out. And while this doesn’t solve those challenges, it says, ‘we see you, we remember you.’ And hopefully, it’s also a reminder for us that there’s work to do in our city on how we care for the vulnerable.”

Volunteers plan to deliver the bags to the shelter on Sunday so they can be distributed in time for Valentine’s Day.

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