We just wrapped up feeding close to 30 people this morning a hearty breakfast along with handing out some hats, gloves and scarves. We usually have over 100 to 175 people but majority are hunkered down in tents all over the city or on their cot at Room in the Inn or other overnight shelters, not wanting to lose their place especially on these frigid nights. We did a role call per se this morning making sure everyone was accounted for and no one was lost last night because of the temps. Those who were not present had someone speak up for them letting us know they were ok. As folks ate, many shared concerns about the cold nights ahead and reflected on what happened to friends of theirs last year. They were scared it could happen to them; three men huddled together on a heating grate and when morning came only the man in the middle rose to meet the day, on either side of him, each man froze to death. Josh, our Volunteer Services Director prayed with them and offered resources for the night.
Please remember that many people who are homeless don’t set out at the onset of their life to end up this way. Many suffered injury or mental disabilities like Wade, who lost his wife and children in a plane crash which he survived but suffered brain damage. He finds it so difficult to keep a job because of his condition but is always so excited to share with me about his upcoming interviews or job possibilities. Many lose loved ones like Wade in catastrophic events such as a house fire or a car accident; moments that are hard to shake and incredibly difficult to deal with. Many don’t have the support system of friends and family as they stumble through their addictions, they just continue their downward spiral with no hope in sight. Many are war heroes who fought to defend this country on foreign soil and while they were there experienced severe injuries and witnessed scenes and situations they’ve never been able to forget.
What we need to remember is not to judge or place a label on those who have no home, who walk the streets, who ask for food or a little cash. We need to treat them with honor as our fellow man or woman and if we can provide them with food to eat or water to drink. We need to speak love to them and most importantly pray for them.
I also encourage you to purchase the Nashville Contributor, a newspaper that features articles and insight from those who have personally experienced homelessness or who work with the homeless population. You may see individuals standing on corners of local businesses selling these papers. All of the vendors selling this paper have experienced homelessness or are currently homeless and they keep the profit from each paper that they sell. They start out with free papers, and, if they like selling, they return and purchase their supply for 25¢ each, sell them on the street for $1 and keep the profit.
Vendors have the opportunity to earn additional free papers by pursuing greater involvement in The Contributor by writing stories, photographing events, recruiting other quality vendors, and attending monthly paper release meetings.
“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”