News

Faith community buzzes over Dream Center

By JACINDA HOWARD, The Mirror

The South Sound Dream Center is a reality that Federal Way’s faith-based community is buzzing about, but resources and financing are still needed.

The Dream Center, a nonprofit, faith-based organization established to assist homeless and low-income populations in Federal Way and Auburn, has come a long way the past year.

Executive directors Roy Andresen and Rick Cameron opened a long-desired drop-in center in Federal Way with an abundance of services. But the pair would like to do more for the city’s working poor — those who hold jobs but are still struggling to obtain the basic staples of life.

Meager beginnings:

The Dream Center began in 2006, roughly a decade after Cameron visited the Los Angeles Dream Center, established in a neighborhood overturned with gang violence. The center was making a difference in the lives of gang members head-deep in chaos.

“When I saw that, I thought someday I have to be a part of that,” Cameron said.

Today, the South Sound Dream Center mentors teenagers, visits the elderly, delivers food to more than 100 local families and distributes more than 700 sandwiches every Saturday to homeless and low-income individuals, among other services. It provides a helping hand to those who are trying to help themselves.

“Roy and I, this is our full-time job,” Cameron said. “We get paid in the satisfaction of helping people out.”

The organization also operates a drop-in center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday at Bible Fellowship, 1336 S. 336th St. in Federal Way. Internet and phone access are available. Volunteers can provide assistance in finding a job or compiling a resume, Andresen said. This is a place for homeless and low-income residents to get out of the weather and drink a steaming cup of coffee.

“We are just getting started, but we are seeing the fruits of it already,” Andresen said.

Cameron and Andresen hope to soon offer hot showers and laundry services at the drop-in center as well. In April, a counselor will be stationed on site, Cameron said.

“We are trying to provide all the little things you don’t have on the street,” he said.

Finding money:

The South Sound Dream Center is a volunteer-run organization. It depends heavily on donations and fundraisers.

A monthly average of $1,975 is needed to operate the organization, but only about $1,825 in donations is received monthly, according to a South Sound Dream Center Letter of Introduction.

Amber and Brian Thiel, of unincorporated East Federal Way, heard of the Dream Center through multiple friends. Amber Thiel, aiming to meet a personal development and leadership goal, met with Cameron and discussed the Dream Center. She is hosting two upcoming events in support of assisting the working poor who benefit from the organization.

On March 22, she will lead a group on a hike at Rattlesnake Ridge in North Bend, Wash. On March 29, Helping Others Through Tough Times (HOTTT), a silent auction complete with a performance by the Seattle-based band Going South, will take place in Seattle. Thiel hopes to raise $5,000.

“Even if I don’t reach my goal, I just want people to be aware of (the Dream Center),” she said.

The funding will be used to provide food to those in need, Cameron said. It will help feed children who go to bed hungry and families who cannot afford groceries, he said.

“Every last penny of it would be put toward helping the working poor,” Cameron said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565

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Check it out:

• Take a hike March 22 at Rattlesnake Ridge near Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend, Wash. in support of the South Sound Dream Center. The hike begins at 10 a.m. in the parking area and is expected to last two hours. Lunch will be held afterward.

• Participate in a silent auction and listen to Seattle band Going South at the Helping Others Through Tough Times event, beginning at 4 p.m. March 29 at Hooverville Bar, 1721 1st Ave. S., Seattle.

For more information about these events, to participate or donate, contact Amber Thiel at (253) 859-1311 or empoweringlives2day@gmail.com. Donations are also being accepted online at www.SupportOurGroup.com/ZF852.

Get involved:

To learn more about the South Sound Dream Center, visit www.ssdreamcenter.org., call (253) 288-1806 or e-mail rick@ssdreamcenter.org.

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