GREAT FALLS — About 120 people are currently staying at the Great Falls Rescue Mission’s Cameron Family Center. Julie Bliss is on a mission to help each and every person, one car-load of donations at a time.
What started as a household purge during quarantine turned into a movement beyond what Julie could've imagined. “To say I’m blown away would be an understatement,” said Bliss.
On Thursday, March 4th, Bliss dropped her 100th car-load of items to the Cameron Family Center. In early February she took her mission of compassion and care to social media, calling it the “Experience Bliss Project.”
She documented her journey on her Facebook page and invited other people to join in her efforts to donate to the Cameron Family Center. The "Experience Bliss Project” has reached beyond household clean-outs in Great Falls to people from New Jersey to California.
“I have been thankfully collecting money through my Venmo account from people out of state. What I have been doing with that is going directly that day going to a store and finding out what the center needs that day,” Bliss said.
Donations range from food to furniture and even a hula hoop. “If we get monetary donations that helps pay the payroll, the lights, the heat and what-not. If we get food, games, or hula hops, whatever that might be, it goes right to the department that needs it. Like our kids department was asking for games just a week ago and said if you get any, bring them by,” explained Jim McCormick, the director of the Great Falls Rescue Mission.
“I feel like being here 20 years I’ve watched a lot of community giving, I’ve been very supported in my own career and journey, so it was about time I did something big back to Great Falls,” Bliss reflected.
She thought her goal of donating 100 car-loads would take up to six months - but it took just 22 days.
“I’m really just right here standing in front of my car not because of things, not because of donations, not because of myself. It’s really about the children and the families going through hard times and they’re ready to fight back. They’re in there doing discipleship programs, learning how to budget, learning parenting classes and these children need us to fight for them. They need us,” said Bliss tearfully.
The Rescue Mission's “Week of Compassion” begins on Sunday, in place of their annual spring fundraising banquet which was rescheduled due to Covid.