Saturday, September 25, 2010

We are Human

If we will treat everyone as a human then a lot of the
issues in the world will cease to exist. It is basic human
right to be treated as a human.

Friday, September 24, 2010

If you can just think about this:

You are homeless
You have no where to go and no one to see
All you have is what you are wearing
Your clothes are dirty
A shirt with holes
Pants that don’t fit
Shoes that are too small
Socks that are worn
You walk the streets the whole day
You have no form of ID
You can’t get a job to get back on your own without an ID
To America, there is no proof of your existence
As you walk the streets your feet blister
That’s what happens when your shoes don’t fit
Your toes are in so much pain you can barely take a step by the end of the day
It slowly begins to rain, then pour, as it does in New Orleans
You get out of the rain only after your clothes are soaked
Your shoes are filled with water due to the puddles
Your socks are drenched
You must keep walking because you are not allowed to sit anywhere
Constantly you are run off from places when you just stop for a rest
Now you walk the streets with wet clothes and shoes
The blisters become worse and you get more of them
Most of them are infected
You hurt
Not only physically
People constantly look down on you because you don’t have a home
They don’t even give you a chance
You didn’t have control over the situation that made you homeless
You are trying to get your life back together but no one wants to help
You have no where to go and no one to see
You are constantly walking the streets
Looking for help everywhere
You find a place that helps the homeless
You take a chance, so many times you are turned away
You ring the bell
You are greeted with a smile
The first time someone has smiled at you all week
You see a light in their eyes
You know they care
They feed you, clothe you, and give you hygiene items
They help you clean up your wounds
They look past that you are homeless and see you for you
You are helped
You now have hope and you now have strength
When you walk back down the street
Your chin will be lifted
There will be a light in your eyes
Because they were Jesus to you
It’s simple… Be Jesus to people.

Which way do you look when you see someone who doesn’t have a home? Do you smile at them or frown? Have you ever given a homeless person a chance? A homeless person is just like me and you except for the fact that they don’t have a home. They don’t have shoes that fit their feet or clothes that fit their body. They don’t have a closet to put them in either. They have a heart that does the same function as ours. They hurt just like we do; the only difference is we have a house to hide in.

There are so many stereotypes about homeless people that are untrue. The National Coalition for the Homeless talks about the reasons that people have become homeless over the past few decades. As most people assume, they are all strung out on drugs, unwilling to work, and trying to take advantage of the system. These assumptions are false. Foreclosures, poverty, eroding work opportunities, decline in public assistance, and lack of affordable housing are a few of the main reasons for homelessness in society today. Much of which, cannot be controlled by people.

Other key factors in homelessness include: lack of affordable healthcare, domestic violence, and mental illness. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Americans are uninsured. A single illness can put a person in poverty on the streets. Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between the abusive relationship and becoming homeless. 16% of the single adult homeless population suffers from severe mental illness, of which they have no control. Addiction is rarely a cause of a person becoming homeless; however, once on the street there is an increased risk of turning to drugs.

Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances and cannot be identified as a result of a single cause.

So, will you choose to be Jesus to the next homeless person you see?

35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25:35-40

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Week of Opportunities

We have had a very busy last few weeks at Friendship House, that have included two awesome opportunities that we are so excited to share. On September 7, 2010 several of the staff members were able to assist with a Feed the Children drop that was here in New Orleans. The NFL Players Association sponsored this drop along with the Teamsters Union. Two truckloads filled with boxes of food were handed out to people in the community. Thankfully, we had plenty of people to help because we lacked a fork lift to unload the trucks. With assembly lines stretching across the parking lot, we were able to successfully unload the trucks as cars began to line up.

Based on the number of people in the household, each family received a food box, a household goods box, and a case of water. The food boxes include canned goods, cereal, rice, and spaghetti and will feed a family of four for ten days. The household goods box provides the family with hygiene and toiletry items, along with other things that are needed in a house.

One of the trucks filled with Feed the Children Boxes and a few boxes unloaded

One of the posters along with boxes of food stacked ready to be handed out

We had an awesome time getting to spend time with several NFL players, both current and retirees. We got to visit with John Stinchcomb, Deuce McAllister, Mike McKenzie, Chuck Commiskey, and several other players. Many of these guys have helped Baptist Friendship House food pantry through fundraisers for Feed the Children.

The NFL Players Association bus

Dr. Kay Bennett with John Stinchcomb

Kendall Wolz with Deuce McAllister

As you know, the week leading up to the NFL Kickoff was a busy time for New Orleans as we prepared to cheer our Saints to a victory on Thursday September 9. We were invited by Cherry Blackwell with Lagniappe Ministries to volunteer and help prepare the floats that were in the NFL Parade. We were also invited to attend the concerts that took place prior to the game. We are very thankful that Cherry allowed us to be a part of this experience.

Dr. Kay helping load coolers filled with cold drinks on to the floats

DeShannan helping on top of one of the NFL Parade floats

Michelle working on top of another float

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School Bash = Success!

We had our annual back to school bash on Saturday August 28, 2010. Despite rainy weather, forcing us to do everything inside, we had a great turnout of people coming to the event. We opened the doors and allowed people to come in and dig through tons of clothing that we had received through donations. We set out food that had been donated and allowed everyone to pack a bag full to carry home with them. The kids had games to play. We also prepared food to eat at the bash. On Saturday alone, we gave out 65 bags full of school supplies to students in need. We gave out several bags in the weeks prior to the bash and we are continuing to give out the school supplies we have left as people come to the door. It was wonderful seeing all the kids just warming up to each other and playing together while their mom’s did all the digging through clothes. We met a lot of new people and saw several familiar faces. This was also a chance for us to see some of our Up 2 Hope girls that we hadn’t seen since graduation. We are so thankful for all the donations we received to make this ministry opportunity possible.

Be sure to check out our website for all of our upcoming events and to check out our needs and prayer request lists.

Please continue to pray for all the ministries at Baptist Friendship House.

Some of the girls drawing during our back to school bash

Backpacks and school supplies we gave away

Some of our Up 2 Hope girls with their new backpacks

All the clothing we were able to give away