Homeless Day on the Hill

As we (Carla and Rich) endeavor to move into a more active role in dealing with social issues, we signed up for the first time for Homeless Day on the Hill sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. We arrived at a site near but off the capitol grounds along with 850 others – at least planned but not quite realized due to poor weather and driving conditions.

We listened to impassioned speeches, encouraging talks from a couple of legislators and received instruction on how to conduct our meetings with our senators and representatives. Then, we connected with other constitutes from our district and headed off for our mission.

Our team met with both our senator and representative separately – one was more open and receptive than the other. We received some good questions from each that our group wasn’t equipped to answer. The meetings were short – 15 minutes each – and we pray it was impactful. A large group remained for the afternoon to observe and be a physical presence at some of the meetings for both the senate and the house committees.

It is a bit of an empty feeling to leave not knowing anything more than when we arrived. No indication that our effort made a difference. No idea if our concerns will be remembered. No sense that funds will be applied to the critical issues related to affordable housing and the homeless.

So, we applied our effort. We reflected on the drive home on what our part might be going forward and things we might do differently if participating again. In any case, we will continue to press on toward the goal – of loving and caring for “the least of these” in the best and most effect ways we find possible. We’re grateful there are lots of folks in our community that care enough to raise their voices for those without one.

 

Minnesota Homeless Memorial March & Service 2017

Homeless Memorial March 2017

Carla and I “marched” in this last evening. Our first time.

The two mile walk in the Minnesota cold pales in comparison to what many of those we serve endure during the harsh conditions winter dishes out. The service was moving with dozens of names of the homeless read aloud with a candle lit for each. On the list were the names of each person passing away since last year’s service, either homeless, recently homeless or having served the homeless.

I couldn’t help notice it seemed the average age of the homeless on the list was around the late 40s or early 50s. Too young. Unnaturally young. We personally knew one of the men on the list, murdered last summer at his camp. Very sad.

We hope to participate in the future to honor those that won’t have an obituary printed or perhaps evening having the funds or family for a service of their own.

 

Beautiful people; lovely hats

My friend, Rocky and his wife Kalli, have been encouraging and supporting our social ministry work since our beginnings. Kalli struggles with her physical health and knits hats as a way of giving back while keeping busy. She sent many hats to us for distributions this winter – as the winters in Minneapolis are VERY cold – so we waited until just before Christmas to give them out.

Folks were so excited and please with these high quality, hand made hats! I told each the story of the lady who knitted them with love, which enriched the experience of receiving the gift.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Amen to that. Merry Christmas.

New Socks Feel Great!

Bombas socks 2017-11

The sock manufacturer, Bombas, has a corporate mission to give away one pair of socks for each pair sold; that’s near 5,000,000 pairs of socks as of this post!

We applied for a grant to be a recipient of Bombas and were generously shipped 500 pairs of their awesome socks. These will come in handy during our time in Twin Cities homeless shelters this winter.

Its great to see there are companies that utilize as a central focus of vision to give back, as recognition that “to whom much was given, of him much will be required

Thank you #bombas #beebetter

Jimmy gets a job

Jimmy gets a job

Jimmy has been working hard at staying clean and maintaining good status at his residence. He dropped in to see us at the Salvation Army one morning last week and said, “If I could get a bus card, I know I could go to a temp service and start working again.” So for $30 we loaded up a card to give Jimmy the opportunity to come through on his commitment. He stopped in on Friday and said that he started work that week, is still clean and just wanted to thank us for the $30 Go To card (bus pass) because that was the boost he needed to make it happen.

Sometimes it is the small things we do to encourage others, like trusting Jimmy with a $30 bus pass, that help others with the motivation to move forward in life.

And the story continues…

20170907_184428.jpgWe first met John while he was living in a homeless shelter with an uncompleted college education. He was the feature of an earlier story when we stepped in to help him get re-enrolled in college. He graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s degree in computer science…but ran into some issues with his citizenship so was unemployable.

We referred him to the Dignity Center to connect with an attorney. John is now days away from receiving the paperwork needed to apply for jobs…and the Dignity Center is covering rent for a couple of months to get John out of shelter and into some stable housing.

We stepped back in to help him get a few of the things he needs for his new place. One of our most reliable team members was on the case to gather donations but found the response wasn’t up the need (perhaps the reason was first week of school starting?). She told her kids what she was working on and the children decided to pool some of their own money to help with the cause. Unbelievable!

It is truly remarkable when need intersects generosity. We’re SO blessed to have faithful volunteers that are willing to “take the yoke” of another and provide them with needed rest from the anxiety and struggle that the world sometimes provides.

We’re excited to continue to follow John into his next chapter….stay tuned!

BBQ at High Ground Minneapolis

HG BBQ 2017

We’ve had the opportunity for the past several years to host a barbecue at the High Ground Shelter in Minneapolis. We served BBQ’d hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, water AND smoothies to around 200 people! Our guests were very gracious in their thanks for the meal.

A big “thank you” to Brothers Meat and Seafood of Maple Grove for it’s generosity. And thanks to John, Dave, Steve and Rich for “manning” the operation!

We hope our presence there provided encouragement and fellowship with the shelter guests.

 

Grandpa and Grandson’s housing now secure

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Stephen cares for his grandson, is on disability and needed temporary help as he was now left alone to care for himself and his grandson. He saw a spot we did on television at Thanksgiving and called to connect with us.

Threshold to New Life provided a one-time grant to assist with his housing situation. A few months later, Stephen replied to our follow up with the below message:

“I am happy to report that my life is truly blessed and I am living well Hallelujah, and that is a large part due to the charity that you and your wife showed me in my time of need …. I truly thank you both.”

We at T2NL are truly grateful and blessed to have the resources (time, talent and finances) to connect with such people as Stephen and his grandson to fulfill such a simple request, and receive the additional blessing of shared gratitude.

Disabled man is now scooting!

Glenn Jaime 2017-04-30

Jaime is homeless and is a shelter resident. He is on disability and is unable to walk due to complications following surgery. He was unable to get around in his manual wheel chair and his powered scooter had a bad battery. We were approached and asked if we would provide funds for a new battery and charger for his scooter. When we put the word out to our little network, a generous donor stepped up to donate a powered scooter previously owned by her father that she was just in the process of selling.

We love it when God’s timing is perfect. Sure, things don’t always work out the way we want. But He is always faithful, and in this case, he matched a donor and a donee in perfect harmony.

Carla Bahr

SECRETARY/TREASURER & ADVOCATE

Carla co-founded Threshold to New Life with her husband, Richard, in 2013. Carla handles the day-to-day operations for the organization dealing with partner organizations and working directly with clients.

She has spent a career in providing administrative support for executives at a number of prominent Twin City companies, which developed her organizational skills as well as the heart of a servant.


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Richard Bahr

PRESIDENT & CHAPLAIN

Having led and grown a leading capital equipment manufacturer with installations in 27 countries serving 17 of the top 20 pharmaceutical firms in the world, Bahr became determined to dedicate more of his time, talent and treasure to helping “the least of these."

He has a B.A. from Augsburg University in Business and has served on the boards of and has actively worked with several charitable organizations throughout his career. As a licensed minister, he volunteers as a chaplain at various homeless shelters along with providing leadership for 2.4 Ministries of Grace Fellowship, serving a daily breakfast to the homeless. He is also a published author. His most recent book, Those People, shares stories about his homeless friends. More about Bahr can be found on his website at www.richardbahr.com.


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Sheila Daniels

DIRECTOR

From Homeless to Faith – Following her experiences in dealing with both homelessness and chemical dependency, Sheila committed her life to Christ in 2004. As God began pulling the pieces of her life together, she began working for a non-profit homeless shelter in 2007, then earned her B.S. in Human Services in 2018. Following multiple promotions, she now is the Case Management Program Manager at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis.

Sheila is originally from Chicago and has resided in the Twin Cities since the late ’90s. She is married and a soldier in The Salvation Army. Her empathy for those struggling with addiction, homelessness, and mental illness has oriented her vocation and volunteering to step in to help those in need.


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Danell Gibbins

DIRECTOR

Danell is a hands-on executive with several decades of senior level experience in the wholesale industry. Born and raised in North Dakota, she has lived in the Twin Cities area for more than 30 years, and she and her husband call the northern suburbs home.

In addition to volunteering with Threshold to New Life, she supports a number of other organizations which reflect her heart for poverty, food and family insecurity, and homelessness: World VisionCommon Hope, and Unseen among them. She loves to cook, eat, and make others feel welcome. She translates this into preparing and serving food at Simpson Shelter, Minneapolis, alongside her friends from Grace Fellowship, Brooklyn Park, MN.


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Denise Morrisette

DIRECTOR

A life-long Minnesotan, Denise is married to John and has two wonderful daughters and a son-in-law. She has spent her career as an elementary school teacher in a Title 1 school in a Twin City area school district.

Along with volunteering with Threshold to New Life, she has helped with several other homeless ministries. She sponsors children through World Vision and is currently a coach and mentor to the Girls on the Run organization, which promotes good self-esteem, positive role models, and moral education along with physical activity to girls in grades 3 – 5.


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John Morrisette

DIRECTOR

Also a life-long Minnesotan, John is married to Denise and has two wonderful daughters and a son-in-law. He has been an Environmental Scientist and has been operating his own business for 22 years.

Along with volunteering with Threshold to New Life, John has learned the joys of serving by being a Big Brother since 2012 and is currently a tutor at Sharing and Caring Hands. He has worked with at-risk teens at Maple Grove High School in the STRIVE program. He has also coached youth gymnastics and soccer for many years.


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Rob Van Beusekom

DIRECTOR

Rob was born and raised in the Minneapolis area and currently lives in the Northwest suburbs of Minneapolis with his wife, Nancy. He has a B.S. Degree in Finance from Saint Cloud State University and has spent the last 30 years of his career in corporate financial management and planning.

In addition to his role on the Board of Directors of Threshold to New Life, Rob is involved in several other non-profit organizations. He teaches financial literacy classes for several organizations, serves on the speakers’ bureau of Feed My Starving Children, and is a Compassion International and Campus Outreach sponsor. He is also involved in his church, Grace Fellowship in Brooklyn Park, where he serves as a church elder, men’s group leader, and small group leader.


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Nancy Van Beusekom

DIRECTOR

Nancy was born and raised in Wisconsin and has lived in the Twin Cities for over 35 years. She lives in the Northwest suburbs of Minneapolis with her husband, Rob. She has a B.S. Degree in Finance from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and has spent the past 30 years of her career in business systems support and project management within the Financial Services Industry, where she recently retired.

In addition to her role on the Board of Directors of Threshold to New Life, Nancy teaches financial literacy classes for several non-profit organizations, ran the church bookstore for 4 years at Grace Fellowship Church, and is a Compassion International and Campus Outreach sponsor.


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