Yesterday (Sunday) I was out of the house shortly after 4:30 am, on my way to the only homeless shelter in the county. I’ve been volunteering at this particular shelter, since I joined my Lutheran church last year. It’s one of the numerous ministries that our church is involved with, in fact, I’m the Homeless shelter coordinator for my Lutheran church.
This summer, because of my daughter’s schedule, I was only able to volunteer once; she accompanied me — we prepared and served dinner. It felt great to be back doing something I truly enjoy. I enjoy cooking, and the shelter gives me a chance to prepare larger quantities of food for those who stay there. Yesterday, there were 26 people in attendance. This homeless shelter has enough space for about 35 guests; 29 beds for men, 6 for women. The women have another facility (houses women and their children) available that’s not too far away.
The shelter is part-time during the week, most of those who work at the shelter are volunteers, just like myself. The guests have to leave shortly after by 8:00 am. But on weekends, the guests don’t have to leave. Many of the guests have jobs, that don’t pay too much. I’ve encountered many that lost their primary job, and are just struggling to get by. With this economy, I’m seeing this a lot more. Food provided at the shelter is all given by the various churches who also cook and serve food to the guests.
At times, I hear a lot of inaccurate information about Christians. Many automatically assume that we ‘preach at the guests’ before they can eat. We don’t, we interact with them as with anyone else. The guests know those who serve them are of Christian faith. It shows the groups that support this ministry (on their bulletin board.) Faith based ministries, in this case Christian churches, are only ones that are funding this homeless shelter. Some of our guests do talk about religion, at least some of them have talked about it with me, and it’s nice to share, interact, and occasionally pray with them — or for them.
You can’t lump all groups a certain way. I see that happen often with political and religion organizations, and I can’t help but shake my head. Since I know the same people making inaccurate stereotypes about people who vote or worship differently, would be up in arms if someone was to use those same labels to describe a race of people. I live by a simple rule, I treat others how I want to be treated. Of course it’s much easier to apply this rule to people who think like us, but how many make the effort to use that same rule to those who might disagree? I do…