Established in 1970
REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches) began in 1970 with 17 pastors fueled by the spirit of the ecumenical movement with the intention of being a forum for both clergy and lay persons. REACH became an incorporated 501(c)(3) in 2012. Meetings were held monthly at the Renton First United Methodist Church until 2007 when meeting locations began to rotate. Its first act of response to need in the community was to lobby the Renton City government to put a bus line in from apartments in the Talbot Hill area to markets in downtown Renton. Projects have included:
Friendly Kitchen: Volunteers gathered every Thursday evening at Honeydew Elementary School in the Renton Highlands to cook and serve a meal for anyone who came. The meal continued for over 30 years until 2012 when Honeydew School was redeveloped, and the space was no longer available for a community meal. The Friendly Kitchen donated their accumulated resources to the REACH Center of Hope when it opened.
ARISE (Area of Renton Interfaith Shelter Endeavor): In 2004 a REACH task force designed and implemented a shelter that rotates on a monthly basis between various churches to provide overnight shelter for up to 25 homeless men. In 2007 this program was put under the auspices of Catholic Community Services.
Crop Walk: Since 1983 REACH has hosted and sponsored the annual Renton CROP hunger walk. 25% of the total raised stays in Renton to support feeding programs.
Center of Hope: Opened in 2013 with a day shelter located in Renton City Hall. Overnight shelter was initially provided at various churches on a monthly rotating basis. Since 2015 the overnight shelter has been housed at Harambee Church serving up to 55 people each night.
REACH Meal Coalition: In 2013 REACH convened a group to explore consolidation of how meals are provided to the homeless population in Renton. In 2015 REACH took over preparing and serving the weekend meals (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and serving breakfast to those in need 5 mornings a week. Serving locations have varied and permanent housing is being sought.
In recognition of the call to a just and sustainable community, and in thanksgiving for the gifts we
have been given, we respond by:
Offering ourselves to each other
and our community, in support of compassionate,
healthy and sustainable ways of living together.
Allying ourselves with,
and advocating for, those whose dignity and worth
are compromised through lack of resources.
Communion. We are connected in our humanity. We are dependent upon each other and creation. We give thanks and will nurture and celebrate our diverse gifts..
Love of Neighbor. We are each of inherent dignity, and we advocate for equal access to the resources for a healthy life
Sustainability. We will hold the resources we receive with care and consideration for the benefit of all.
Dialogue. We each bring a story that is sacred. Absent voices will be asked to the table and listened to.
Faith. The Spirit of God is at work in the world and we will be led by that creative, redemptive and loving presence.