Posted August 29, 2018 in Around the Synod

PW1Presbyterian Women from the First Presbyterian Church in Bloomsburg, PA, hosted an ice cream social for the residents at Fountain Springs recently. The group enjoyed ice cream sundaes, balloon animals, bubbles and conversation with the women and children.

Gaudenzia Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center Fountain Springs in Ashland is one of a few centers that provides shelter and counseling for women and their children. This outreach by the church provided an opportunity to put a face on the epidemic that has struck across all layers of society.

“Our PW and church has been really excited and energized by this interaction with Gaudenzia,” wrote Martha Manning, a member of the PW group.

As the year was winding down on the 2017-18 Presbyterian Women Synod mission project, which was Lily’s Place (a neonatal abstinence syndrome center sponsored by the Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of West Virginia), the women of FPC Bloomsburg wanted to learn and do more about opioid addiction. The group invited Director Christine Munson and Prevention Supervisor Wendy Bridal from Fountain Springs, Gaudenzia Inc. to speak at its May birthday offering meeting. The information they shared about the women and children served by their center and the grim statistics for the surrounding counties, the state of Pennsylvania and the nation captured the group’s hearts and minds to want to be involved.

The PW of First Bloomsburg began planning ways that it could connect with people in the program who are trying to get out of addiction.

“If we could actually meet face to face with those who are struggling and let them know that others care and more importantly God cares, we might make a small difference in this overwhelming crisis,” Martha said.

The group’s Summer Sundae gathering was just the beginning of establishing a relationship with the center. Fountain Springs is one of the very few centers that allow women to bring up to two children to rehab. Child care is one of the biggest reasons young women avoid rehab.

“We served ice cream sundaes, shared balloons and bubbles but most important were the conversations with the women around the tables,” Martha continued. “Everyone felt uplifted by the evening. What touched me was how much the women enjoyed the bubbles and balloons – as much as the children. One of the women I sat with was there with her 3-year-old daughter. She has been there four months and she is doing really well. I still hold her close in prayer as I do the two women who were very pregnant.

“We are looking for ways we can continue to walk with these women and with the staff that supports their efforts to seek a better life for themselves and the children. Part of our new vision and mission at FPC under the ‘Love Kindness’ umbrella is to build relationships that transform the lives of others including our own. May this be the case as we continue this walk with Fountain Springs.”