Deuteronomy 15:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Generosity to the Poor
7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,
I have a special calling to serve the homeless. The first time I felt this calling was when our family took a trip to San Francisco in the mid 80’s. With little know-how, I gathered tooth brushes, toothpaste, soap, and other basic essentials. I made 15 small bags with a Bible verse, and put them in my suitcase. I did not share this with anyone in my family.
We traveled to San Francisco on an annual basis to celebrate my birthday, and to go school-clothes shopping, so I always used a larger sized luggage. While we were all getting ready for dinner, I made the announcement about the bags. Mike’s response was, “You did what?” I got all the bags out and laid them across the bed. Mike’s reaction: “How did you hide these bags in your suitcase?” “I didn’t hide them! I packed them.” I answered. “Well, I guess we need to get rid of them.” Mike’s plan was to drive and hand out the bag where the homeless congregated. We dropped our son off to hand out the goodie bags, Mikos came back with his head downcast and said, “Mom, you didn’t make enough.” That was the beginning of my work with homeless people.
We are now in the biggest battle with the homeless crisis in the United States. It is no longer safe to go to Skid Row. There are now medieval diseases in the midst of homeless, and, worse yet, some are airborne. So instead of going to hand out lunches, the Lord has changed my direction to get involved in the genesis of a new program: Churches in Action.
This organization is spearheaded by Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez. Bishop Mendez has pulled together many other churches to help with this enormous endeavor. Churches in Action is an ecumenical outreach to help place homeless people into apartments. As of today, there are more that 60,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County alone! This program will help shelter 1,000 displaced people into a apartment within a year.
Bishop Mendez is working in partnership with the government to get tax breaks, The Jewish communities of various synagogues are lovingly raising funds for this outreach. “Lavame,” which mean “wash me” in Spanish, provides portable mobile showers that are moved throughout Skid Row in order to enable the homeless to shower on a more regular basis. These are a few steps in the right direction to help homeless people regain their dignity.
Before any displaced persons is given apartments, they must attend classes like: Life skills, which teach them to transition back into society with acceptable ease. Financial management classes will teach them how to manage the stipend they will receive to live. They will also be required to attend time-management classes to better understand how the rest of the world operates. Many churches will be available for spiritual counseling, because we all need God.
There will be counselors available for mental health, but due to the interference of liberal groups, this cannot be a forced issue. Even though one of primary causes of homelessness is the abuse of drugs and alcohol, these groups have actually hindered the recovery of substance abuser by making the treatment voluntary instead of mandatory. Why? Because they are serving their own interest, and not that of the displaced. This type of bureaucratic dung is what the real problems about. The good intentions of honest, compassionate people always hit a brick wall with the proposals of the misguided politicians.
Secondly these groups have put into law the protection of the trash of the homeless; therefore, no police officer or public workers can remove any garbage because it’s against the law! Now due to his new ordinance, we have developed medieval diseases.
In the Old Testament when the Israelites were homeless for 40 years, God provided them manna, this was their daily bread, they could not save the manna for the next day because it would spoil. All the officials are attempting to do is rid the streets of all contaminants that breed rodents, public official are not taking any personal items from the displaced, they are just trying to repel the rats.
Exodus 16:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
Rodenticides have been banned for the killing of rats in California. Why? Because the pesticides are killing other wild life like mountain lions when the rat is injusted. For the twenty years that I have been going to Skid Row, I have yet to run into a mountain lion. The closest thing to the big cats are domestic cats with their kittens. We need to give these self-serving politicans, a wake up call. Stop tying to save the rats, instead think of the human beings! Honestly the rats on Skid Row are dying of old age while the buffoons sit on the high hill protecting the rodents. Shame on you!
If you are really tired of seeing homeless people you can help do something about it. We are filling large boxes with the bare essentials: pillows, queen-sized sheets, blankets, comforters, pot, and pans, cooking and eating utensils, cups, plates, bowls, glasses. We also need shampoo, toothpaste, soap, towel/washcloths toilet paper paper, towels, and cleaning supplies. Please, I implore you to help.
I purchased about 50 items at The Sheep Fold, a local second-hand store, everything was 75% off! I walked in and out Goodwill because they were too expensive. The Dollar Tree has knives, spoons and forks, 2 for a dollar, plus I also purchased cooking utensils there. Another great place for silverware is Ross. Big Lots has queen size sheets for $16.99, but at Macy’s (online only) you can purchase queen-sized sheets for $15.99. HomeGoods has mixing bowls for $7.99, I purchased pots and pans with a donated Walmart gift card from Bishop Mendez.
We separate these items into twos: two forks, two spoons, etc. They will either receive one pot or a frying pan, two pillows, one set of sheets, and one set of towels. All this shopping took me about a week to accumulate enough items to fill at least 10 boxes. Instead of getting new shoes or new clothes, my money was put to better use. I call this shopping with a purpose.
How can you help? You can purchase the items yourself or you can donate the money and I will do the shopping. Either way this is 100% tax deductible, because Churches in Action is a 501-C3 non profit. You can also send the money directly to them at:
Churches in Action, 9641 Virigina Ave., South Gate, Ca 90280
Proverbs 28:27 New King James Version (NKJV)
27 He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
A special thanks to Jason and Sarah, and Al from St. Norbert Parish in Orange, great is your reward!