Helping the homeless in my neighborhood has become a reality for me, finally after so many unfaithful, empty promises to God, to myself and to my children. I started by putting together 5 gift bags to give away to the homeless. Each one costs about $50 to put together and this is what each bag contains:
1. Toiletries from the Dollar Store (about $15 worth of items from toothpaste and a toothbrush to
socks, hand sanitizer, shaving cream and a razor, a rain poncho, a mirror, candy, etc.
2. A $10 gift card to McDonalds
3. A copy of the book by Matthew Kelly called "Rediscover Jesus"
4. A letter of hope and prayer and motivation to the homeless person that includes $25 in cash which
is enough money for them to take a taxi to The Dorthy Day Center, a Catholic Charities center for the
homeless and poor. (In the letter I urge them to use the $25 to take a taxi to The Dorthy Day Center
which is in downtown St. Paul, MN. about 5 miles from my house.)
The Dorthy Day Center will take in anyone who is homeless and help them transition into housing, put a resume together and find a job. In the letter I urge them to use the $25 in cash to take a taxi to The Dorthy Day Center where there are people who will care and help them make a positive change in their life. I also tell them I will be praying for them.
Have you ever heard the quote, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." This is such a powerful phrase with so much wisdom packed into it. In helping the homeless I wanted to give them more than a handout which would suffice for a day. I wanted to give them a way to be able to leave their helpless situation and be empowered to work again and have a place of their own they can call "home".
To date I have given away four gift bags. I keep them in the backseat of my car. When I stop at a red light and there is a homeless person there begging for something, anything, if I feel led by the Holy Spirit to give that person a gift bag, I do. I had the courage to ask the last two people their names. A woman was named "Barbara" and a man was "Steve". I have added their names to my prayer list and I urge you to do the same if you are reading this. We have no idea why Barbara and Steve are or were homeless. (Hopefully, with God's grace they are no longer homeless). Their dire situation could have been due to bad decisions, a horrible upbringing, no parents or loved ones to care for them. who knows? It really doesn't matter. What matters is Barbara and Steve are our brothers and sisters in Christ and it is up to us to help them. I have no control with what they choose to do with the $25 in cash. I have to leave that in God's hands and hope and pray that they use the $ to go to the The Dorthy Day Center where their lives have the potential to be transformed.
Of course as is part of God's plan, when we do something for His kingdom we are filled with joy and peace. I cannot describe in words how joyful and peaceful I feel when I give a gift bag to a homeless person. It is such a strong example for my children which is a huge motivate for why I was led to do this in the first place. I feel that in my little way I am being obedient to the Gospel and doing God's work on earth while setting a good example for my children. I pray that God can continue to motivate me to keep this small project going!
God Bless You!
Theresa G. is fascinated by the topics of God, spiritually and the Catholic Church. As her faith and knowledge about these topics grow, her desire to write about them grows as well. Maybe you will be able to relate to one of her articles and maybe they will affect you in a positive way!