23 February, 2024

Church Shows Ongoing Love for Seniors at Mobile Home Park

by | 7 August, 2019 | 0 comments

By Jim Nieman

For at least a decade, a California church has been investing in the lives of a group of folks that many tend to overlook.

The Christian Church of Thousand Oaks’ ministry to senior residents of the Ranch Mobile Home Park started as an outgrowth of a local “Action” day when Christians are encouraged to get out and serve their neighbors and communities.

CCTO started by working on the grounds at a local mobile home park managed by a church member. The manager later recommended the church focus efforts at Ranch, an affiliated, but smaller, mobile home park for low-income seniors. The simple reason? Ranch residents had a greater need.

The Ranch is “easy to miss,” says Marty Milligan, associate pastor of the Thousand Oaks, Calif., church of about 500 members. “Most people don’t even know it’s there.”

CCTO initially duplicated its earlier efforts by simply sprucing up the grounds at the 72-unit park. But Milligan says the church expanded on that fairly quickly, as they try to build relational elements into all of their outreach ministries.

Early on, “I would just throw out ideas,” Milligan said. For instance, “I asked [the office manager], ‘What if we came and did a meal in your clubhouse?’”

Today, the church hosts monthly meals at the Ranch Mobile Home Park. Small groups at CCTO take turns arranging for the meal. “There’s one tonight,” Milligan said last Thursday. “We will end up feeding 25 residents in the clubhouse and take out another 10 to 12 meals to shut-ins [in the park].”

CCTO has a variety of ways it tries to engage with Ranch residents and bless them.

A “Helping Hands” ministry is one of the most important.

The church gave Ranch residents a refrigerator magnet with a phone number to call if they need help with mainly smaller repairs or tasks, such as repairing a leaky faucet or broken fan, or replacing a lightbulb or smoke detector battery. When a Ranch resident calls the number, Milligan’s assistant, Linda Malone, takes down the information and determines whether someone on CCTO’s 26-member Helping Hands team is available to assist.

Malone—who described Ranch residents as “really awesome people” and “the unknown residents of T.O.”—schedules and coordinates the work.

The church takes care of repairs that are $30 or less. If the repair or small project costs more—and a church member is able to perform the work—the resident pays for materials and the church performs the work for free. Volunteers in this ministry include electricians and people with construction backgrounds, among others.

CCTO offers additional opportunities to bless the residents of Ranch Mobile Home Park. The church sends a large contingent of volunteers to spruce-up the grounds about twice a year, and at Christmas, children hand-deliver homemade cards and small gifts to the residents. Children and adults also sing Christmas carols.

An ongoing ministry involves CCTO’s food pantry, whose representatives make deliveries to Ranch residents each week.

“There are people in here you can’t imagine what they live on—that’s how small the sum is for Social Security,” Gayle Comfort, a 77-year-old Ranch resident, told the Acorn, a local newspaper. “Some use this as their grocery store.”

She described a close-knit group of residents who try to help one another. “Then you get people like the church people coming in, and they just make it make it even nicer,” she said. “Everybody here appreciates it so much.”

“We just slowly built a relationship with the people in the park (and) now we have a presence there,” Milligan said. The church engages with about half the residents—mainly the older folks in the 55-and-over community. “They appreciate what we do and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives.”

Over the years, a handful of Ranch residents “have come and been a part” of CCTO, he said.

“We believe the church exists to be a blessing to the community,” Milligan said. “We believe in the idea of God loving us and then calling us to live a life of love toward others because of the love that God has for us.”

And love can take many forms. About a year ago, Milligan conducted the funeral service for a Ranch resident whom he and others from the church had visited with regularly. (The church’s relationship with the woman’s surviving husband and their daughter continues.)

Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

HIU Grad Shares Jesus Through Spoken Word Poetry

Hosanna Wong was raised in an urban ministry but never intended to go to a Christian college. She ended up at Hope International University, however, and after graduating in 2011, she has become an international speaker, author, and spoken word artist who is helping everyday people know Jesus for real. . . .

Hundreds of Guests Blessed at Ohio Church’s ‘Night to Shine’

Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio, hosted “Night to Shine” for the 10th consecutive year on Feb. 9. Story pastor Dale Reeves writes, “After Christmas Eve, this is my second favorite night of the year!” Among the special guests this year were Tim Tebow and his wife, Demi. . . .

Christian Ham Radio: More Than Just a Hobby

The Christian Amateur Radio Fellowship (CARF) formed at the North American Christian Convention during the summer of 1966 as a way to promote fellowship among Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, our Christian colleges, and as a service to missionaries. CARF has a website but no headquarters. The fellowship has hundreds of members in North America and around the world. . . .

Ministry Help Wanted

Summit Christian College (Gering, Neb.) is accepting applications for the position of academic dean. Mulberry International is seeking a mission-minded marketing professional. Milligan University is accepting applications for assistant professor of worship leadership. Plus other listings. . . .

Follow Us