Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Helping the Homeless

           One cold December day I brought Christmas cookies to the day center which provides help to those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.  A client asked if he could help me unload my car.  I come from a family that makes enough cookies to feed a small army, so I graciously accepted the help.  While we walked to my car, the young man mentioned that it was going to be a rough night with the winter storm rolling in.  I nodded as I would if a co-worker or friend had said the same thing to me.  Then I realized that this man would be looking for shelter against the storm that night.  I would be sitting in my warm home with my family, getting ready for the holidays. 

Isolation and loneliness can come from monetary situations, i.e., the homeless.  Many times, especially during the economic challenges of today, it is beyond their control.  But, there are many ways in which we can help.  You can take a hands-on approach and bring something to the day center.  Any kind of food is welcome and with the economy, the day centers are not receiving as many donations from the food service companies.  

Many churches have become involved with agencies such as PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter).  These churches offer shelter to the homeless during the rough Chicago winters.  If your church is involved, you can participate on different levels from preparing and/or serving food to volunteering as a shift monitor. 

Some people are on the verge of homelessness and only need a little help to stay on their feet.  This help comes in the form of a food pantry.  Donating to food pantries is easy and economical.  I’ve posted before that if everyone that could afford to put one item in the food pantry per week, there would be enough to go around.  I truly believe this because I believe in the power of many “ones.” 

We can’t do a lot alone, but a lot of people like you and me working together can.  So, as you go on through the year, hopefully attempting my challenge of doing a good deed per month, please remember you can make a change no matter how small your deed.  

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