An elementary-school gymnasium is usually the last place to go for a manicure, haircut or mini-makeover, but that's where single mom Tleena Ives took her four children Saturday for Christ Memorial Church's "Operation Day of Hope."
POULSBO, Kitsap County — An elementary-school gymnasium is usually the last place to go for a manicure, haircut or mini-makeover, but that’s where single mom Tleena Ives took her four children Saturday for Christ Memorial Church’s “Operation Day of Hope.”
“The boys’ hair grows so fast, I feel like I’m always cutting it,” Ives said. “This was a nice opportunity to come and do some fun stuff with each other and to help ease the cost.”
The event is a first for the church, which has a combined membership of more than 3,000 people.
The focus of the day was to connect church members and the larger community with needed services at no cost.
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Services included free legal consultations, dental and medical screenings, flu shots, financial advice, employment help, family portraits and bicycle repairs. There was also a Day of Hope spa that offered haircuts, manicures, massages and makeovers.
And there was access to clothing and food — including fresh produce donated by Central Market and Poulsbo bread donated by Sluys’ Bakery.
“If people are choosing between food and getting their nails done, they’re going to choose food every time,” said lead pastor Tom Duchemin.
He had seen churches in other communities host similar events and proposed the idea to church member Lela Wessner, hoping she would agree to coordinate it. The proposal stayed in her mind for three weeks, and after praying about it, Wessner agreed to pull the event together, she said.
With the help of 15 to 20 other church members, Wessner quickly got to work. When the larger congregation was asked to volunteer, Wessner was almost run over by people wanting to help, she said.
“We wanted to provide a service, we wanted to provide relationships and we wanted to provide prayer for those who wanted it,” she said. “We didn’t know if there would be 10 people at the door or 1,000.”
A majority of the services provided during Saturday’s event were provided by church members. About 400 people volunteered to help an estimated 500 to 600 people who came through the doors during the four-hour event.
For Ives, the free services like the haircuts for her boys and the kids’ eye exams allowed her to feel more comfortable financially, just in time for the holidays.
Daughter Kaylayla, 11, enjoyed letting someone else paint her nails for a change.
“It was very fun,” she said. “It’s not something that we usually do.”
Kalina McKellar, who had her makeup done in the gymnasium-turned-mini-spa, stopped by the food pantry to pick up some items.
“It’s refreshing; it’s good to be pampered once in a while,” she said. “I think that it’s a really good thing that they’re doing this for people in need.”