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9/30/16 - 6pm - Blessings Under the Bridge

Jessica Kovac: Founder of Blessings Under the Bridge

Jessica has spent most of her life seeing herself as plain and unworthy of little to any attention or recognition.

Jessica came from a strict Catholic family that moved from Spokane to Vancouver, Washington. She was not allowed to date until the age of 16. That all changed her Junior year when she met Mike Kovac. At the age of 16, she was pregnant; at the age of 17, she was married. For the next several years, Jessica goes through many difficult times. She worked odd jobs, raised a small baby, experienced a miscarriage, and then her husband’s affairs.

By the age of 24, Jessica separates from Mike. In the middle of trying to make their marriage work, their second child was born. For a bit, this birth refocused them. They even had some job improvements that led to a house to call home.  

This was all short lived as Mike attempted suicide, Jessica has health issues, Mike attempts suicide again, and they lose their home. They moved their family of four into a rental to only lose everything in a fire. In 2004 and at the age of 34, Mike had landed a job at Costco and received may pay raises and job advancement. For Jessica, she had lost more than gained. She endured more health issues and destructive affairs. Mike hurts his back at work, had a couple surgeries only to lose his job at Costco. By 2004, her marriage was as good as over. They eventually moved to Spokane where Jessica had lived as a child. Her hope was to start a new life for her, her family and her marriage.

It took a few more years to believe in hope.

Life took on different meaning for Jessica in 2007 when she found God. She felt a nudge from God to help those in need on the streets. On October 7th, by herself, Jessica took 40 brown bags (sack lunches) and a case of water and began to serve the homeless of Spokane. From Mike, she received judgment and skepticism. That was until Mike joined her four weeks later and Mike met Homer, a homeless man that reminded Mike of the father he once had. It was on these streets where Mike and Jess allowed God to begin to heal their marriage and bring hope to a place that it never lived.

Jessica’s idea of serving the homeless took on a new direction in December 2007 where she hosted the first “Winter Event”. It was here that she and Mike along with volunteers and supporters fed some 400 people. Last years 9th annual Winter event served over 1400 people in need. Today, Blessings Under the Bridge (BUTB) feeds close to 330 people every week, offering more than just a “blessed brown bag.” Today BUTB serves 8 different stations including a 7-10 course meal, groceries, drinks, treats, shopping, blankets, resources, and more.  For over 8 years BUTB has served over 100,000 people. Serving those in need from Spokane to California to Hawaii. BUTB has fed, clothed, served and loved the homeless and less fortunate.

These days, Jessica sees herself as worthy and filled with hope. Admits building and running an award winning non-profit, she shares her story everywhere and is finishing her first book. Jessica, Mike, and BUTB have appeared in the last issue of People Magazine, The Rachael Ray show in NY. Gave a TED talk not  to mention other local media, newspapers and TV.

Today, her high school sweetheart, Mike, and her have been married 27 years and have three grandchildren. Her heart has been forever changed through serving those in search of the very same things Jessica was lacking all through her life. Her motto, along with BUTB, is simple: Live, Love, Serve!

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