‘The real spirit of Christmas’ in a local parking lot

That gathering along 15th SW just south of SW Roxbury earlier this afternoon was a special Christmas meal, explains Mary Anne deVry from Westside Interfaith Network, who tells WSB it was “served jointly by a group of Jews, Muslims, and Christians for homeless and low-income people on the westside. They are part of WIN.” She continued:

A bit of background: Every Saturday for years, the WIN group of churches has been serving a hot meal and providing clothing, coats, shoes, blankets, backpacks, hygiene products — whatever is needed — for local homeless people and exceedingly low-income people. At 11:30 AM we set up our canopy tents and tables in the parking lot on south side of Bartells, SW Roxbury and 15 Ave SW; then provide food and needed items from 12-2 PM–or until we run out of food. Currently we are averaging 120-150 “guests” each Saturday. Incidentally, the majority of our guests live unsheltered 24/7–including families. Some are on Social Security or Disability and subsist on $50-100/month after paying rent; many eat only once a day and live without heat. There are a significant number of immigrants who are fearful of obtaining help from food banks or any agencies, so they come each Saturday for necessities — food/toilet paper/diapers etc. We call our meal The Welcome Table. We welcome anyone who wants to share a meal with us.

On past Christmas Days, we have served a meal and given out shopping bags filled with needed “gifts.” It took volunteers away from worship, family, and friends, but the effort was worth it.

This year I was approached by people from West Seattle’s Kol HaNeshamah synagogue saying they would like to provide the Christmas meal so their Christian friends could celebrate their sacred holiday. About the same time, Aneelah Afzali (a West Seattle resident) from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound/MAPS, offered to work with Jewish friends to give Christian friends a day off. Simultaneously, some Christian families asked if they could help with the meal … because they felt serving vulnerable neighbors expressed the real Spirit of Christmas. … It is a special blessing in this splintered society, that a bunch of Jews, Muslims, and Christians are joyfully working together. … This meal is one step — of many steps — we take together to overcome the fear and hatred of our fractured world.

9 Replies to "'The real spirit of Christmas' in a local parking lot"

  • Nita Burlew December 25, 2018 (4:52 pm)

    How wonderful! You will be blessed for your service to your fellow man! 

  • LyndaB December 25, 2018 (5:39 pm)

    Thank you for sharing this with us.  This is a kind reminder that we all can help.  :) 

  • NW December 25, 2018 (5:55 pm)

    Thank you all for your service 

  • sc December 25, 2018 (6:10 pm)

    “what does the LORD require of you:Only to do justice and to love goodness,and to walk humbly with your God.”Micah 6:8

  • Sheila G December 25, 2018 (7:46 pm)


  • Ajs December 25, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    Devry has always done great work. So has Be kind TV and Talk it up TV and Marys place. These organizations could do more all year round and can. 

  • KK50 December 26, 2018 (8:16 am)

    Thank You for bring light to a dark time for our unhoused and struggling neighbors. 

  • JC December 26, 2018 (11:12 pm)

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartwarming story.  I’m most thankful that this specific story, representing so many faiths, happens in my own neighborhood.  That makes me so proud!  I appreciate the awareness and the work done by all. It reminds me I can do more too.  

  • Irene Gehring December 29, 2018 (8:35 am)

    It has been a tremendous blessing to know Mary Anne deVry and her husband, Scott, and their wonderful children since 1981.  Serving, helping, giving, loving are in the “genes” in this family.  Thanks be to God!Another lady with a very large giving heart is Sue Hart, who joins the group each Saturday and gives so much to help make the lives of the poor better.  Thanks be to God for Sue Hart, with a huge heart!

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