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Occasionally, an Angel Shows Up

Miguel RomanoOur social ministry doesn’t often take in donations of physical items as we just aren’t equipped to store lots of stuff. We do keep basic items on hand – socks, jackets, gloves, hats and backpacks – all which are pretty universally needed and one size fits most. So when a donor/friend of ours offered a laptop and printer, we first said “no” but suggested we might find a need at some point and if we did we’d let him know.

We received an application from Miguel only weeks after the donor’s offer. The need began as a request for rental assistance and maybe a few groceries. We were able to “step in the gap” for Miguel on those matters, then he asked that he “just found out I need a laptop” for his work. Imagine that.

We contacted the donor and he graciously updated the operating system and packaging everything up neatly, even providing a laptop case.

Miguel was all hugs and smiles when we met. We have these situations come up from time to time – we have a client in need of an item we just don’t have, or someone wishes to donate something we refuse. And sometimes, God seems to work things out just as we need.

 

 

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Getting the Household Ready

With a baby due in September and the prospect of another child reuniting with her soon, Brittney was in need of help.  We put the word out to our network and were able to round up some of the basic things she needs to get her new home up and running – dishes, coffee pot, microwave, dish towels and a few other items.  She is also very resourceful, coming up with friends and family providing many other things she needs.

We just love how God works to heal us from past mistakes, even if those mistakes leave a few scars. Brittney has endured some significant challenges in her life – some self-induced – and yet she is now in a place where she is excited to move forward in life, clean and sober, back together with the baby’s father and having a mailing address.

We’re so proud of how far she’s come; God isn’t through with Brittney just yet!

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.

What is the big deal about 146?

YE 2017 Stats for Email

We have a generous donor that will match the first $3,000 donated in December! If you’re moved to support this effort financially, click on this link to donate.

Thank you for all of your support in 2017!

 

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.

 

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