02-19-2017  3:27 pm      •     

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:

OREGON FOOD DRIVE
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.

SALVATION ARMY GIVING TREES
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

TOYS FOR TOTS
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

TOY 'N' JOY
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.

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION
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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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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