Thrive 2 Survive, River City Church team up to serve others

Monthly event helps those in need get in touch with resources to help improve their lives

Thrive 2 Survive and River City Church are not affiliated with each other, but they do share a common bond: Serving others.

A volunteer, wearing a Thrive 2 Survive shirt, gets ready to serve a meal to those in need Sunday at the Thrive 2 Survive event at River City Church in Vancouver. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom
A volunteer, wearing a Thrive 2 Survive shirt, gets ready to serve a meal to those in need Sunday at the Thrive 2 Survive event at River City Church in Vancouver. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom

Thrive 2 Survive is part of Recovery Cafe’s outreach program, designed to help those in need with food and clothing as well as other services. This past weekend, for example, there were medical professionals on hand to answer questions, there were veterinarian services for pets, and there were barbers to offer haircuts.

Stylists from Barber 2 Go were also on hand to provide services at the Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom
Stylists from Barber 2 Go were also on hand to provide services at the Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom

Thrive 2 Survive events are held monthly at River City Church, at 2400 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., and that church is celebrating close to 10,000 hours of volunteerism in its two years of existence.

It is a win-win for Vancouver, organizers say.

“We’re building community,” said Charles Hanset, the community resource coordinator at Recovery Cafe Clark County, School for Recovery. “We might not be able to get you (housing) that day but maybe we make a connection with you and get you something you need.”

Members of River City Church volunteer at the event, passing out food and supplies and just taking the time to listen.

Volunteers associated with River City Church and Recovery Cafe Clark County were on hand Sunday to provide assistance to those in need at the monthly Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom
Volunteers associated with River City Church and Recovery Cafe Clark County were on hand Sunday to provide assistance to those in need at the monthly Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom

Ryan Sidhom, pastor at River City Church, said churches often use attendance as a way to evaluate a church’s success. He wanted to be different. He came up with the idea of logging volunteer hours instead. 

“I see that Jesus tells us to go. Jesus tells us to love,” Sidhom said. “How many people are going out and making a difference in the community?”

The church opened in April of 2019, and earlier this month, the church surpassed 9,100 hours of volunteer time.

But there is more. Sidhom said that most of the volunteers who help with the Thrive 2 Survive events, and other volunteer opportunities provided by his church, are not members of his church, just people from the neighborhood who want to help.

“I’ve learned that this community is a loving community and a giving community,” Sidhom said. “It’s really cool to see how giving and loving this community is. They’re going to say, ‘How can we serve each other?’ I think that’s a beautiful thing.”

There was a variety of clothing available at the Thrive 2 Survive event. And plenty of volunteers to help those in need find what they were looking for. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom
There was a variety of clothing available at the Thrive 2 Survive event. And plenty of volunteers to help those in need find what they were looking for. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom

The main goal of Thrive to Survive, Hanset said, is getting people in touch with the resources they will need to improve their lives. 

“Cafe believes in the whole community,” Handset said. “This event is for everybody. We want to build. Together, we are stronger.”

The plan is for Thrive 2 Survive events to occur monthly, on the second Sunday of each month. River City Church, in fact, does not have traditional service that day. Instead, it asks its members to volunteer at the event. 

Hanset said he appreciates that the church gives up its worship time and property for his passion, helping those in need. 

There were also goodies for pets at this weekend’s Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom
There were also goodies for pets at this weekend’s Thrive 2 Survive event. Photo courtesy Clarissa Sidhom

Beyond the Thrive 2 Survive events, the River City Church members have helped out single moms on Mother’s Day, taught English as a second language to parents of school children, created 20,000 meals for children, among other things.

“We truly believe that one of the best ways to live like Jesus is to serve like Jesus,” Sidhom said.

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