Each year, the students of Northwest’s Child/Aaron’s Place focus on a few projects for their annual “Fall into Kindness” and “Spring into Giving” projects as the seasons change. Northwest’s Child/Aaron’s Place is a local nonprofit providing services for people with moderate to severe disabilities, including after school care for children and a day program for adults. This year, they decided to focus on other nonprofits in the community since the pandemic left so many people struggling.

One of the places they decided to benefit was Bridge Ministries, a Bellevue-based nonprofit that also serves people with disabilities. “We have the same [type of] clients, but different missions, so they complement each other,” said Lindsey Holley, an assistant director of Northwest’s Child/Aaron’s Place.

Bridge Ministries is a faith-based organization that focuses on three things: an equipment ministry, recycling used medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers and getting them to new clients, certified professional guardians, to help adults with disabilities manage their day-to-day affairs, and a spiritual ministry that provides social and spiritual support in group settings.

“Part of our mission is to bridge social events,” said Jackie Kieszek, administrative support supervisor for Bridge Ministries. “Care packages are a way to reconnect. They have been such a hit!”

Kieszek spent a recent sunny Saturday afternoon driving around care packages to clients with intern Emily Ardon, a student at Northwest University in Kirkland who is working on her degree in counseling psychology.

At their first stop, David Dinkins greeted them in the parking lot of his Bellevue apartment complex. He was brimming with joy to get his bag, containing snacks, shelf-stable meals, crafts and coloring books, and just as eager to see friends and talk about the Seahawks game from the previous Thursday night.

Bridge Ministries started the project, officially called the “Bridging Isolation Care Packages,” in response to the coronavirus pandemic after all social events got canceled. Local churches and nonprofits like Northwest’s Child have been donating the goodies for the bags, and Bridge has been delivering them — from as far north as Lynnwood and south as Auburn.

Next week Bridge Ministries will distribute special Christmas bags, complete with donated gift cards to Fred Meyer. To learn more about Northwest’s Child/Aaron’s Place, visit https://northwestschild.org/ and Bridge Ministries at https://bridgemin.org/