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Flying On One Wing

by Keith Clark

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.”  – Luciano de Crescenzo

I hadn’t seen Donald Smith in years, having lost touch with him after leaving my job at Cokesbury Bookstore.  That was about to change and I was excited to be able to reconnect with him. 

After 25 years with the Presbyterian Synod, he had also moved into a new ministry, serving as Executive Director of an organization unknown to me.  What exactly, I wondered, was the Angel Interfaith Network (AIN)?  Checking out www.angelinterfaith.net, I learned he was working with patients of the Los Angeles County and USC Health Network, people with great needs and little means. 

The more I learned about the Network, the more excited I became, the more questions I had.  Donald and I communicated frequently via e-mail and Facebook.  My need for answers eventually led to a lunch where Don explained what Angel Interfaith Network was all about – in depth and great detail.

Social workers throughout the L.A. County and USC Health Network refer patients with very specific physical or spiritual needs to the Angel Interfaith Network.  Among those needs are temporary shelter, food, clothing, transportation, clothing and baby supplies.  AIN has, for example, provided beds for children in homes where the entire family slept on the floor and refrigerators for people with no place to store perishable medications.

I was fascinated to learn AIN has only one full-time staff person and one part-time one and that they work with churches and other non-profit organizations (throughout Los Angeles County), helping them “adopt” patients and provide needed equipment, medication, supplies, etc.

Other volunteers deliver meals or “new baby” care packages to recently released patients or spend their time in the office doing data entry or answering the phones.  Another group, made up of developmentally disabled individuals, comes to AIN’s office to help organize donated goods. 

When Donald explained they were looking for someone with experience in communications and accounting to join their board, I realized I needed to serve, to help some of the neediest individuals in our community, and volunteered.  My hope is to contribute in some small way to the work of this well-networked yet too little known organization.

I encourage you, too, to find ways for you and your church to contribute – through financial support and by volunteering – to one or more of the many organizations doing great work in Los Angeles County (or wherever you live).  In particular, if the Angel Interfaith Network intrigues you as it does me, I urge you to contact them at (626) 799-2858 and ask how you can help!

Article Written by Keith Clark
United Church of Christ – Director of Finance, Administration & Communication

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