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Brian Stimson of The Skanner
Published: 10 December 2008

Pastor Jerry Gutierrez knows people are experiencing trouble these days, and he hopes he can help. The pastor of My Father's House Ministries is holding a toy and shoe giveaway from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Irvington Covenant Church, 4046 NE MLK Blvd.
"We just want to be a blessing for people," he said.
The free goods are first-come, first-served, and are meant for children and teens in need of footwear or something to play with. Everyone is welcome, but Gutierrez mentions that supplies are limited. The donations were provided by members of Wood Haven Community Church, who is partnering with My Father's House for the event.
The Los-Angeles native just celebrated his one-year anniversary at the Irvington location, a rented space, where he's seen his congregation grow from about 25 to about 200. Before moving to a regular 7 p.m. Friday night, Gutierrez held services out of his home.
This Friday, Gutierrez welcomes Irvington Covenant's longtime pastor, the Rev. Henry Greenidge as a guest during the service. Gutierrez hopes the visit by such a well known and respected man will encourage people to visit his ministry. He says the congregation is already a very diverse mix, but he's always looking for ways to reach more people.
He says he and Greenidge share common beliefs and he believes the message Greenidge will deliver will match with his own. In January, Gutierrez will welcome Pastor Larry Huch of Dallas/Fort Worth's New Beginnings. In June, Gutierrez is planning on holding a pastor's conference to help educate church leaders how to attract and keep congregations.
Because of his Friday night time slot, Gutierrez finds many parishioners who are members of other churches looking to check out what he has to offer. The non-denominational pastor says many members of his congregation enjoy avoiding the Sunday worship rush – it frees up the weekend for other pursuits.

For more opportunities of giving for the holidays:

The food bank and affiliated volunteers are holding a number of food drives around town this season. Visit their website at www.oregonfoodbank.org for the full list. But here are a few if you're in the neighborhood and you have a spare can of hominy:
• City Hall, through Dec. 31, collection bins are located on every floor.
• Pietro's Pizza, 10300 S.E. Main St. in Milwaukie, until Dec. 12. Get a discount on pizza with your donation.
• KINK FM 102, Friday, Dec. 12 at the Roseland Theater. Holiday concert benefits the Oregon Food Bank. Tickets are $20 at TicketsWest.
• Waterfront Food Drive, bring your food donations to participating businesses along the waterfront.

The Salvation Army assists thousands of families who qualify for assistance every year. By purchasing a tag off an Angel Tree, you help a specific, anonymous child get two age-appropriate toys. Tags are also available to help senior citizens.
• Lloyd Center, 2201 Lloyd Center,
• Washington Square Mall, Hwy. 217/Greenburg, Hall and Scholls Ferry Exits
• Eastport Plaza, 400 SE 82nd Ave., Portland

This U.S. Marine-run program helped distribute nearly 112,000 toys last year through organizations who help families in need. This year, they're looking to increase that number this year. To donate, you just need to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at a drop off location:
• Walgreens locations
• Safeway locations
• Wells Fargo locations

The Portland Fire and Rescue will be collecting new and "like-new" toys at any Portland fire station, any Barbara Sue Seal Realtors office, Fabric Depot or the Toy 'N' Joy office, 5916 NE Going St. They also accept cash donations to purchase toys. Much like Toys For Tots, this program works with state and local organizations that assist low-income people to find children in need. Toys are also distributed to parents or a legal guardian who can call to request toys at 503-823-0922.

A holiday dinner is being held on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. to benefit needy families in Portland. The $35 per guest ticket price supports the group's food and toy drive. Only 90 seats are available. Call Anne Pinney at 360-281-7946 or John Thompson at 360-356-4549.

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