November 14, 2013

Making Thanksgiving more than a day off from homelessness

Thanksgiving is coming in two weeks. Maybe you’re looking forward to time with your family and friends. Or eating your favorite comfort foods. Or a break from the hectic pace to watch football and take a nap. It’s a day off from our jobs, or a break from the routine.

But not for the homeless. Instead of a break, it’s often the worst day of the year so far. A lot of times it drops close to freezing here in Snohomish County. Usually it rains. Now men, women and even children have to find a way to stay warm and dry, just to survive! That’s on top of figuring out where the next meal will come from.

I’ve seen folks come in here limping – without shoes – in all kinds of weather. Or their shoes have been soaking wet for days on end and their socks are shredded. Heads full of lice. No coat, no gloves, no winter cap. With so many coming to us these days, the thought crosses my mind that even prosperous Everett can seem like a third world country.

That’s why we want to go all out this Thanksgiving. Of course, we want to give people a respite from the horrors of life on the streets in the winter. Everyone deserves a “day off of homelessness.” But we also want to offer authentic help, hope and compassion.

After all, Gospel is our middle name. And we stand on that. It’s about changing lives through God.

Thanksgiving is the ideal time to give people the message that failure isn’t forever. Recovery is possible and we can help. So when we give homelessness the day off this Thanksgiving, we can also put an end to it for good.

Soon our dining room will be packed with folks desperate to have something to be thankful for.  Along with comfort foods, we want to feed them with hope. It’s not just a break from homelessness, it can be the start of a better life, off the streets for good. The beginning of a life to be thankful for.

That’s what I’ll be praying for. How about you?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!