Have you ever really thought to be thankful for blankets? So many of us lay down at night, maybe we have the heat turned down to save the electricity and so there is a chill in the air, but it is nothing compared to what it feels like to be on the street and homeless during the winter? I read a story today about a group of students who spent their Martin Luther King holiday stitching up blankets to be passed out in the Boston area. I’ve never really been excited at how most people celebrate his birthday…he was willing to speak out and God used him in some incredible ways to bring needed changes in our country, but sometimes I think we get caught up celebrating the person and our day off rather than their mission. I think he might think the same thing if he attended some of the parades today. This group of students though? They had a great idea – I think he would have been happy to see those who had less be given a hand as the homeless find it difficult just to eat, stay warm, and stay safe. You can read more and see a picture of one of their blankets at http://wnep.com/2014/01/20/stitching-together-warmth-for-homeless/
The first story that really struck home with me about how difficult the choices were that the homeless faced was one in which a man described why he chose to keep his cellular phone and sell his car instead. On the surface, I would have found the car a place of safety and relative warmth…at least I would know I wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground, but he had a different perspective…that phone was his link to possible work for the day, or knowing that a shelter had an open bed, or any number of other needs that could be met with the resources of that phone. They say never make assumptions until you have walked a mile in the other person’s shoes…for most of us spending a night outdoors just really isn’t going to do this. Spend some time in a homeless shelter, take an evening and go serve soup in a kitchen, make a blanket and see the smile of gratitude that they won’t be quite so cold that evening.
There are no perfect answers…the government definitely doesn’t have them…and there is no one size fits all solution. I’m not talking about those that abuse the system by panhandling more than many of us make in a day; I’m talking about the ones who didn’t have any place else to go or didn’t know where to turn when life turned upside down on them one day. Look around you, they are there.
If you want to find out more about the sleeping bag project – check them out here. http://www.thesleepingbagproject.org/
If you want a perspective from a family who left their comfortable Florida home to go help the homeless on the streets of Portland…a first hand perspective of helping those who live on the street – check them out here. https://www.facebook.com/knowing.meministries
The company I use to source product for my home business was originally started with the premise that everyone should have access to clean healthy food…our food has been donated to food pantries all over the US through their foundation. The reason it is so welcomed at food pantries?…the whole family meal is in the sealed pouch, it does not need refrigeration, and only requires boiling water to have a hot meal wherever they are.
I encourage you…look around, there is someone who lives near you that has so much less than you do. Help and enabling are two different things. I would encourage you to be a helping hand on their journey. Their smile will make you smile.
Pay it forward as you learn to Live simply, Laugh daily, and Grow gracefully…