A Year of Hope
For a year now, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s HopeLine has been operating in an office in the heart of one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation. In theRainier Valley, diversity comes in the form of race, socio-economic background and religious beliefs, and HopeLine has provided resources, a listening ear and hope to this community, as well as throughout King County. The term hope is not considered wishful or positive thinking, but belief that prayer, listening and serving can help anyone who calls.
HopeLine started out of SUGM’s women’s recovery facility (Hope Place) due to the overwhelming number of calls they receive on a daily basis. During a short half-hour period every morning, women looking for a place to recover from addiction, living on the streets or domestic violence call Hope Place to check if there is a room available. With limited space in the program, staff members were concerned about callers who were in dire need; so they established a phone line where someone could talk to callers for as long as needed and offer hope through prayer and resources. This phone line operated during the morning for an hour and became work therapy for some of the program guests at Hope Place.
In 2014, SUGM’s Church Development team launched HopeLine as an eight hour, five days a week service, hoping to expand its outreach to churches in King County. Churches are often asked for help and don’t have the staff, knowledge or training to help those in need. Now, they have a line they can direct those in need to during the week M-F from 8am-4pm
Kim Runyon, a former Hope Place guest serves as a volunteer answering the phones during the week. Kim has overcome a lot of challenges and adversity in her life and after she went through the program she knew she could offer hope to those going through similar obstacles. Kim has served since the doors opened last summer. Some memorable stories from the year include a man with mental illness whom she helped reconnect to a family member in Kentucky, a homeless woman whom she referred to Hope Place and is now in the recovery program, and a family of nine whom she helped navigate through the difficulties of transitional housing.
HopeLine offers more than just resources for those in need–it offers a lifeline to someone, an encouraging word of, “hang in there- we are praying for you, follow up with us- let us know how you’re doing.” The slogan says it all: Real Help. Real Hope. HopeLine. If you or someone you know needs help give them a call…hope is on the line. 206-432-8424.