Point Man International Ministries has expanded its outreach programs in The Dalles, serving area residents and veterans alike, according to outpost leader Michael Knopf, MCPO, US Navy, Retired.

“We’ve opened it up to anybody, veterans and non-veterans,” Knopf explained. “There is no distinction.”

Point Man began as a Christian outreach program focused on veterans serving veterans, he explained. “I’m a veteran, and I love God,” he said of his long-time involvement in the ministry. “God has blessed me, and I want to bless others.”

 Four years ago, Knopf took over as post commander for the local Point Man Ministries and has been expanding the group’s impact ever since.

“In recent years the group has focused on outreach to all,” Knopf said. They have expanded their meetings to include a growing circle of area residents.

“I think God is using Point Man as a catalyst to bring people together,” he said.

The ministry is actively pursuing a variety of service projects:

Operation Wrap-up is focused on providing clothing and warmth for the homeless, and for veterans and their families in need. They were one of the ministries taking part in the “Community Connections” event at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, which attracted about 100 people, and passed out eight sleeping bags. They also delivered prepared meals, propane, tarps and additional food to camps throughout town, Knopf said.

Operation Hope provides food to veteran families needing extra help by distributing staples and frozen foods.

Operation Outreach ships items overseas to veterans stationed in harm’s way. Their packages include granola, jerky, nuts, snacks, socks, hand warmers, hygiene items, and powdered drinks and other items that are unavailable where soldiers are stationed. Items are chosen to be easily placed in pouches while soldiers are out on patrol.

In addition, the ministry regularly provides assistance to others facing difficult circumstances, like those experienced by residents of Paradise, Calif., during this summer’s fires.

Knopf noted that the group is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and any items and money donated are tax-deductible. “I thank all those who contributed last year; your donations have made it possible for us to be successful in all our efforts,” he said.

The year included a number of community projects, including the 100th anniversary of World War I at Maryhill Stonehenge, suicide prevention outreach, work with the Veterans’ Service Office and weekly visits to the Oregon Veterans’ Home.

In addition to service programs, the group has also started a class for poem, story and song writing, as well as learning an instrument. The class meets every Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. downstairs at The Dalles Art Center. The class is taught by member Gary Elkinton. A broad range of topics are suggested, including military service, life and family experiences. A book is planned in the future.

Every third Thursday of the month, the class is followed by a Point Man post meeting, 6:45 to 8 p.m., to help those who struggle to access the regular meetings held at the Life in Christ Center at 3095 Cherry Heights Rd. Post meetings are for sharing, and lessons for life through the book of Proverbs. “If you feel a sense of stress, hopelessness, depression, anger, addictions, homelessness, or are struggling with family issues, these meetings are for you,” Knopf said. Like the classes and general outreach, the post meeting is open to veterans and non-veterans alike. Except for the third Thursday meeting, they are held every Thursday in the basement of the Life in Christ Center, which is ADA accessible.

For more information about joining with or donating to Point Man International Ministries in The Dalles, contact Knopf at 541-300-0306. Donations can also be sent to P.O. Box 1775, The Dalles, OR 97058.

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