The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

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The greatest thing since sliced bread

Students come together to share the Bread of Life with those experiencing homelessness
Noah Nims

A question often posed in chapel is “What are your roots?” meaning, what are you planting your life in? Students at Westmont take this concept and try to root their lives in helping others on and off campus in the Santa Barbara community. Some students do this on their own time through simple acts such as helping the environment by using reusable water bottles or even holding the door for someone in a wheelchair out on the town. Other students do this in the community through church outreach groups, on-campus clubs, or outreach groups. 

The main outreach club on campus is Bread of Life in which students can get involved with the Santa Barbara community and more specifically help those experiencing homelessness. This club was founded based on the bible verse John 3:65 where Jesus says “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty.” Students come together to engage with those experiencing homelessness in Alameda Park to build relationships as well as make good conversation, and help these people feel included.

Grace Burgess, a Bread of Life leader and fourth-year Westmont student, said, “often people experiencing homelessness don’t even receive the respect of eye contact living on the streets, so a genuine conversation and a listening ear can be huge.” Not only a benefit to those experiencing homelessness, Burgess notes that “it’s also hugely beneficial for Westmont students to get off the hill, get out of the bubble and build friendships with people we might not otherwise meet.” 

Along with fellowship, local churches take turns coming out to serve hot food. Other non-profits contribute to this gathering as well by coming out to offer resources such as medical care, clothing, food, pet care and more. This happens every Thursday night when students meet in the DC parking lot at 5:35 pm and head to the park from there.

Although some interactions are more difficult than others, meaningful conversations and fostered relationships leave people’s lives touched. Some are even healed by the presence of God through the students who can lay hands on them and pray God’s word over them.

Burgess recalled a special story, “recently I saw God work in a woman’s life in really powerful ways! I met her last year, and she and her two-year-old son were living out of a small car. I hadn’t seen her in a while, but I saw her a couple of weeks ago and learned that God had miraculously provided a large house with a yard for her and her son and a job that allowed her to keep him with her. She couldn’t stop praising God for it and she seemed so joyful and hopeful.” Westmont students root themselves in the soil of delivering the Bread of Life in their community through conversing with and praying over those experiencing homelessness in the Santa Barbara community.  

This opportunity is open to all students, and Bread of Life invites students to join them every week for a life-changing experience, serving others and developing compassion through different perspectives.

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