It is bitter cold!
Today, as I stepped outside, the wind sent an immediate shiver over my entire body.
In the Northeast, the snow is up to twenty inches with blizzard like conditions. Spring starts in just a few days and it will be welcomed.
Suppose you were living in an abandoned building. The only heat you have is a small fire and the only food came from a dumpster. Suppose you lived in those conditions with two small children, without adequate clothing or blankets. Suppose you lived under a bridge without adequate protection. That is the plight of our homeless.
There are more 500,000 homeless people living on the streets in America and 25% are children.
Nearly ten percent of American homeless are veterans who cannot live in normal environments since they have PTSD. We have seen more mothers and young children living on the streets or in shelters because their husband and fathers would not pay child support. With the economic conditions, many families considered middle class are losing their jobs and taking lower paying positions. They have to choose between paying the mortgage and providing food for their families.
Regardless of why people are homeless, the conditions they face in this horrible weather are brutal. Gleaning is placing 8,500 gallons of milk and juice through Central Virginia churches, food pantries and agencies working with the homeless and families living in poverty. That is 260,000 servings. We provide tens of thousands of warm blankets (more than 1,000 in our local community) across the United States for the homeless. We provide more than one million meals to hurting families each year including tens of thousands locally.
Early in our ministry we had a warehouse on Kemper Street in Lynchburg. We witnessed an elderly lady across the street that come out in the snow to get firewood with only rags on her feet. I went to her and helped her back in the house, collected the wood and brought it in her house so she would not have to go out. She had one only pair of shoes and did not want to get them wet. She was not considered homeless but certainly poor by anyone’s standards.
How many of your neighbors just need a helping hand? Never forget the poor have one advocate, you. In this cold weather a small gesture on our part can make an incredible difference with the poor and homeless. Share a meal. Call and check on elderly friends and neighbors. Share a blanket so they have warmth. Make contact so they know someone cares. When you are poor you wonder if there is anyone that really cares and the small things make a huge difference.