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Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spotlight: Two Local Homeless Ministries

Last week I posted a story about a local minister that has gone 'homeless' for the month of January to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, and particularly foster kids that 'age out' of the system.  If any of you have ever spent a winter in Ohio, you know it's no picnic.  We've had lower than normal temperatures and more than normal snowfall.  

I've been following his vlog and tweets on facebook as he attempts to learn what it's really like to live on the streets.  Last night, Pastor Ryan was featured in another local news story from our CBS affiliate WHIO TV.  In this video, there is a short interview with Cindi Stevens of Target: Dayton.  Yes, THE Target: Dayton - the one whose link is on my sidebar.  Even though Cindi's comments were brief, you get such a good feel for who she is and how she feels about those she ministers to.  In his interview, Pastor Ryan shares his impression of his trip to another local church that serves meals to the homeless, although on a much smaller scale than Target: Dayton.  His feelings mirror those I experience when I serve at TD.

I encourage you to follow Pastor Ryan as his eyes are opened to what it's like to be homeless and cold.  I also pray that you will be encouraged to seek out a ministry in your local area and find out how you can become involved.  Prepare for you life to be changed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Think INside the Box...

...a simple way to make a difference.

If you read my past blog posts, you know that I advocate helping the homeless and the poor.  On my sidebar are a couple of links to organizations that do just that.... one large, one small. 

This is the dining hall where Target: Dayton! feeds the homeless and poor.  They also witness to them about Jesus.  Click the link on my sidebar to learn more about their ministry.

Here are some of the hats,scarves and gloves that Sandy collected for the homeless that live under a bridge in her city.  Check out her blog for the Bridge Project

At my former job, some co-workers and I adopted a family for Christmas.  We went through another employee's church that organized families' needs.  We used our coffee pot money and donations to go on a shopping spree.  This particular single mom was able to give her kids a wonderful Christmas!  And the fun we had shopping for those kids was unmatched by anything else that holiday!

One year, this same group took up a collection for the Dayton food bank.  I called the woman in charge, and she told me that the things they needed most were toiletries; toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, etc.  After I got it OK'd through the powers that be I ran off flyers to hang on bulletin boards throughout the plant.  As we filled huge boxes, we would deliver them after work.   I remember one guy, after telling his dentist about our project, came in with tons of toothbrushes!

Do you work in a place that could team up the same way?  Most people are willing to contribute to such a collection, if someone takes the first step in organizing it.  Maybe you could be that someone...
In a recent post, The Meaning of Christmas, Rae, over at Weather Vane, tells of a yearly tradition her family has of filling a box for a local shelter.  Even the grandkids get in on the act!  It's such an easy thing to do.  Imagine if every family you knew did that!  Imagine your local shelter receiving hundreds
of boxes filled with essentials for their clients.

There are many ways to help that need not be expensive or time consuming.  Please, whatever you do, don't think it's too late because Christmas is right around the corner...  Their needs aren't over when the decorations come down.   As a matter of fact, donations often pick up around Christmas time, when people are feeling the Christmas spirit of giving, but drop off steeply following the new year. 
Most food banks are facing huge crises because of the staggering unemployment levels.  You don't even have to buy food and haul it to them...  You can send them a check.

I think that the best way to make a big impact, is to recruit others.  That is the purpose behind these posts.  Hopefully, many will be inspired to do something small, and together, all those things will build a mountain of love.  Won't you join in?

I would love to hear from you on any traditions you have that make a difference to the needy in your world.  Do you have a simple way to give that you would like to share?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Homeless for the Holidays

Winter is coming on and the holiday season is upon us.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us are feeling gratitude for our many blessings.  It is a time when we sometimes turn our thoughts to those who are less fortunate.  When the first snow of the season finally hits the ground, I am saddened.  I love snow, but I can't help but think of those who are without shelter.  While I sit comfortably in my warm room looking out at nature's blanket, others are huddled closely together, trying to conserve their body heat.

Soon our families will be gathered together for a feast of thanksgiving.  We will stuff ourselves until we're hurting.  We will divvy up the leftovers for nibbling over the weekend.  But there are many who have no invitation to the family dinner.  For them, it's just another day of trying to survive.

Thankfully, there are people that not only care, but do something about it.  Cindi and Mark of Target: Dayton are two of those people.  They not only share the gospel with the homeless of Dayton, but they meet their needs.  They serve meals to those that attend the services.  They gave out over 400 pairs of winter gloves in October alone.  God has blessed them with enough donations to buy this chuch:

You can see the nice buses they are blessed to have.  They provide transportation from homeless shelters, low-income housing, the RTA bus hub, and the public library.  Last month, over 4000 people road their shuttle buses to Target Dayton Ministries.

This is one of the choir members.

She also helps out around the place.  She was all excited because I told her she could come visit our farm.  She wants a home in the country someday...

They prepare over 4000 meals a month, so they need a kitchen adequate to handle the load.

They also need a large place to serve the meals.  Last month, they served 1500 people a hot breakfast, and over 2500 people were served a hot dinner.

Cindi is very organized.  The tables are numbered to help the volunteer servers.  It is amazing to watch how efficiently their system works.  I've never seen a professional caterer do as well a job at getting a large number of people served pronto!

So why am I telling you about them again?  Well, if you live in the Dayton Ohio area, they could sure use your help and/or your donations.  If you live somewhere else, there's likely a similar place near you that needs volunteers, money, supplies... 

Whatever your situation, there is something you can do to make the world a better place.  Maybe you have decent clothes in your closet that you no longer wear.  Maybe you have a few hours a week to spare.  Maybe you have a van or car and could take someone to an appointment.  Maybe you're good at reading or Mathematics.  Cindi told me about a guy that gets to keep damaged boxes of syrup.  Evidently a lot of boxes get damaged, because Cindi doesn't have to buy syrup anymore!

Please think about what you have or what your talents are, and how God can use you to help someone else.  There is no better feeling than knowing that because of you, someone else had a better day...

There is a link to Target: Dayton! in my sidebar.  If you would like to make a donation to their cause, you will find an address on their home page.

May God bless you and yours this season, and may you never be without a home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eggscelent Inspiration!

I'm still thinking about Sunday...  We had a special service at church.  Our first service feature the pastor's sermon on being thankful, and it was a good one!  But the second service was all about Target: Dayton!  The Target Dayton Choir came to sing and testify at our church.  I recently talked about the ministry they do for the homeless and the addicted in the city.  There are many that have hit rock-bottom and yet were saved because their paths crossed that of Target: Dayton Ministries.  I believe the church is still home to one of the largest AA groups in the area.  I'll have to check on that.

I remember when they came and told about being able to purchase the really large but empty church building.  They survive on donations.  Their members cannot support the ministry with tithes, as most of them haven't even a home. 

Apparently, Cindi's (Director of the choir, organizer of the meals, and wife to the pastor) dream for years has been to take the choir to New York to see the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir perform.  She would have never taken from operating expenses for the trip, but donations  came in that allowed her (with a bit of help from the Man upstairs) to not only take the choir to New York, but gave them the opportunity of a lifetime... They actually SANG with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir!

During their performance, they ran a slide show of the wonderful things they did and saw while in New York.  It was truly amazing.  In between soul-shaking solos from members of the choir, some of them stepped forward to speak of what the trip meant to them.  The first man made me reach for the tissues...

He spoke of how he had been down on his luck.  Addictions had gotten the best of him.  He was suicidal.  Then Target: Dayton! entered his life and told him about Jesus.  Now he's stayed in a hotel where President's have slept and sang with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir!  Ah, God is good...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cold Hands - Warm Heart

I found a new blog to follow.  The subject is near and dear to me...  the plight of the homeless.  I think it's such a tragedy, especially in these times of boarded up homes, to have people living in cardboard boxes, or even less.  It breaks my heart to think of someone trying to sleep while they are freezing, wondering what danger may lurk just beyond the shadows.

Sandy blogs at the Bridge and Beyond Project. Here is the mission statement posted on her blog:

Our goal is to warm homeless by knitting and

  crocheting hats, mittens, and scarves for men

living under a bridge here in Central Ohio. 
We will also make hats, mittens, scarves 
appropriate for women and children who 
are cared for in 2 free clinics in the area.

Please check out her blog.  I know many of you knit and crochet.  What a wonderful gift to be able to give someone... the gift of warmth through the bitter winter weather. 

While I'm on the subject...  there is an organization near me that I would like to tell you about.  Target: Dayton! Ministries is a church located in downtown Dayton. The primary focus of the ministry is to reach the poor and homeless of Dayton, Ohio for Christ.

I first became aware of their ministry when the Target Choir performed at our church.  It was a very moving service.  Most of the choir members are the city's homeless, either currently or formerly.  It is quite humbling to hear a homeless person speak of the loving grace of God.

Our church is one of many that help support their ministry.  Many area churches take their turn at serving the meals provided there.  Each of Pastor Mark's services are followed by a meal.  The volunteers man the kitchen and serve the food, as well as clean up afterward.  Once the food and trash are cleared away, the volunteers are assigned cleaning task for the building.  It is amazing to watch Cindi organize the volunteer staff.

The Christmas season is right around the corner.  It is the time of year that people think strongly of charity.  If you're not already involved in some type of volunteer work, I urge you to do just one thing, one time.  It doesn't have to be grand.  Dip up some food at a soup kitchen.  Mail Sandy a knit hat.  Drop off a blanket to a shelter.  I've got a feeling you won't stop at one deed.  Once you realize that one person really can make a difference, I hope you share the knowledge with others.