Helping the Homeless
Hi, Everyone :-) It's been a few days, but I wanted to expand on what our Singles Dept. is doing to help the homeless in our area.
It was really an idea one of the ladies in class came up with when she was approached by a man coming out of a store in our town. Our town isn't really that big, just over 13,000 people. She said the man approached her, and was very nice. He asked if she had a couple of dollars she could give him for something to eat.
She only had $5 in cash on her, but gave it to him. She apologized that it couldn't be more. He thanked her and said, "I will be able to eat twice off of this. I go to Jack-in-the-Box and get a kids meal. I can do that today and tomorrow and be able to eat twice.
She stood and talked with the man for quite awhile. She asked his name, and if he had shelter. He told her that he had only been homeless a couple of months. He had worked construction for many years, and had been with the same company for 17 years, but was laid off. Once savings ran out he and his wife split up, and now he is homeless. Just one of those things that could happen to anyone.
He was very humble, and this really opened my friend's eyes.
In our town we do have a ministry that gives away clothes to anyone who comes in and asks. They take the old ones, and give a new set to those in need. There is also a shower on the premises where someone can take a shower. My friend asked if the gentleman knew of this service, and he did not. He was grateful for the information.
My friend then asked something I would not have thought to. She asked the man, if she were to encounter him, again, what could she have in her car that would be helpful to him. His answer? Socks and water. This truly humbled my friend, and she couldn't believe that something we take for granted, like socks, would be the one thing a homeless man would ask for.
So, she came to us with the following idea. We put together gallon size Ziploc bags. In each bag is 1 pair of new socks, a bottle of water, a can of beanie/weenies, a McDonald's gift card, a plastic fork, a toothbrush, toothpaste, handy wipes, and deodorant. Each bag costs about $4 to put together.
Also included is information about resources in the area. The address of the local clothing ministry mentioned earlier, with a contact number/name and a map to the location. All information regarding our local food pantry, and a schedule of the days and times they serve meals. Unfortunately, the nearest shelter is 25 miles away, but the contact information for that is there too, as well as a map to get there. Also, they have a van that will come pick someone up from our area if they call.
Each week we take up a donation for the bags. Even if it is just $1 it helps. We now carry these bags in our cars, and the next time we are approached by someone in need, we can do more for them than just hand them a couple of dollars. We can pray for them, and give them the tools for them to get a new start. After all, in today's economy and hard times, this gentleman could have represented anyone of us.
I thank God everyday for His blessings, and I pray for all of those who have fallen on hard times. Perhaps you may be able to begin carrying a bag in your car to help someone in need. It isn't much, but to them it is everything.