The wooden rectangular shed sits quietly behind the historic church, unnoticed by a casual observer. But hidden inside is a bounty of love for others.
However, once upon a time, this spacious outbuilding — one filled-to-the-brim with goodwill — didn’t exist, nor the very clever idea that has made this humble dwelling the talk of the town.
Back in the day, there was a simple garden-shed in its place on the Snohomish Evangelical Free Church property that stood in the way of a bigger plan.
“God took down the shed that was there,” church office administrator Dianna Salsbury said matter of factly, a near eyewitness if there ever was one. “During office hours, I heard a big crunch! A limb had come down from the house next door in a big windstorm and it smashed the metal shed where we stored the lawnmower.”
Literally mowed down, that shed’s demise couldn’t have come at a better time — God’s timing always so perfect — because what happened after that was just about overdue.
Two “doers and not hearers only” nurses, Karen Plate and Dorothy Waggoner, had put their heads together earlier and come up with a concept that eventually would have their homes bursting at the seams.
“We had made an announcement in church that we were needing used medical equipment to give away free to anyone in the community who needed it,” parish nurse Karen said about their request and the notion folks could use a helping hand when their health, or a loved one’s, became an issue; the cost of walkers, wheelchairs, bath seats and other necessities often unaffordable. Their research had shown there wasn’t another program like it in their vicinity.
Not surprisingly, the God-given idea brought an abundance of items that could be helpful to others. Even so, there was no storage at the church back then — the lawnmower shed hadn’t met its end yet — and so the two ladies opened their homes, both a distance from the church.
“Between my garage and the loft in Dorothy’s barn we kept it all there for two years. I couldn’t even park in the garage!” Karen exclaimed with a smile, remembering how patient her husband had been. “We’d meet people at the church and then we’d haul it home. Later we’d bring it back in to people who needed it.”
What the two women nicknamed as the Medical Supply Closet had certainly outgrown its space — and then some. But right behind the church, a perfect spot at the perfect time opened up where the old metal shed once stood.
So, the Med Shed was created in the summer of 2015, a new building with shelves and plenty of room.
“We were overwhelmed with the number of people who made the dream come to fruition,” Dorothy said, remembering the emotion at seeing the shed completed. “It brought Karen and me to tears, such an answer to prayer.”
Constructed through the hearts and hands of volunteers and donated materials, the church members, friends and businesses had caught the vision — one that would ease the lives of individuals at a time when life could be far from easy.
“There is such a need,” Karen said, reflecting on how people oftentimes don’t have insurance or their policy doesn’t cover medical equipment. “People fall through the cracks.”
But the Med Shed offers a safety net, every item a gift that can give them a hand-up to a better situation.
“They think they have to make a donation or sign something,” said Dianna who opens the shed to visitors during the church office hours. “To be able to say it’s free makes my day!”
“We’re doing it in the name of Jesus,” Karen said, referring to their church mission statement. “It’s not us.”
Truly, faith in action that has shed light on a problem, now resolved through love for others.
Lucy Luginbill: 509-551-2191, @LucyLuginbill