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Casino night event to benefit The Father's Heart Street Ministry, houseless population

It is common knowledge that participating in exercise on a regular basis will build strong muscles. A group at Trainer's Club in Lake Oswego can boast stronger bodies and bigger hearts as a result of working out together.

Pearl Yu, Mickey Givens and other members of the 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday fitness class at Trainer's Club became concerned about the houseless population in Portland and decided to do something about it.COURTESY PHOTOS  - Pearl Yu and other members of Trainer's Club in Lake Oswego help prepare hot lunch and sack lunches for 100 houseless people who visit The Father's Heart Street Ministry in Oregon City.

"It was July 2018," said Yu. "Some of us met for coffee after class and saw a homeless man on the street. We wondered what we could do?" They decided they would compile care packages and deliver them directly to homeless people on the streets of Portland.

"We gathered together things like socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste and then drove around Portland and delivered them right to their tents," said Yu. "It was quite interesting and rewarding. It warmed their hearts to realize that people really cared about them."

But she said what they included in the packages missed the mark. Many of the houseless people didn't have teeth to chew the beef jerky, and they were told by one person that rather than healthy foods they "really wanted chocolate chip cookies."

Then the exercisers discovered The Father's Heart Street Ministry in Oregon City, and undertook making 100 sack lunches once a month to be distributed through them.

"We packed 100 bags with sandwiches, drinks, chips and cookies," Yu said. Father's Heart organizers appreciated the sack lunches but asked if the group could make a hot lunch.

"We learned how to cook for 100 people," Yu said. "It was trial and error and lots of fun. We would bring food over to my kitchen and make a hot meal as well as the sack lunches." By summer's end the group had grown to 12, and involved a second class at the fitness center.

"We each chip in $25 per month to use to buy the ingredients," said Yu. "It has really brought us together, and now we are serving the food too."

The fitness enthusiasts say they have learned a lot about feeding the houseless and how to prepare food in mass quantities.

Recently they came together to cook a meal for themselves and their spouses which was received with rave reviews.As a benefit for The Father's Heart Street Ministry, Casey and Jenny Lakey, owners of Trainer's Club in Lake Oswego, are hosting a casino night Jan. 10. All are welcome to attend.

"We made a meal like we would serve the homeless," said Yu, "It was a nice dinner."

The Father's Heart Street Ministry is a local, faith-based organization in Oregon City that helps anyone in need. Their target group is the ever-growing houseless population, which includes families living in vehicles, seniors, veterans, single mothers, single fathers and single individuals. They aim to give back dignity by providing resources for basic human needs.

At the day shelter people receive three free meals a day, including a sack lunch to go; access to a clothing exchange; warm showers and haircuts; basic medical care; computers; a safe place to rest plus referrals to housing, mental health and drug addiction services; and prayers, council and love.

In support of The Father's Heart Street Ministry, Trainer's Club owners Casey and Jenny Lakey are hosting a casino night benefit Jan. 10. The event begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. celebrating the grand re-opening of the fitness center after a year of renovation, followed by a casino night party from 6-9 p.m. Proceeds from the casino night will benefit The Father's Heart.


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