Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Inn From the Cold

Tonight I spent 3.5 hours doing something very worthwhile. I volunteered with my Life Group to prepare and serve supper for 16 homeless people being sheltered in the church gymnasium through Inn From the Cold.

The Inn from the Cold is a volunteer society. What an incredible work. Every night of the week, they provide our city's homeless families and others in need with overnight shelter. Priority is given to families and women. Over 3,700 volunteers from over 65 inter-denominational churches and synagogues provide Inns on a rotating basis. On any given night, between 30 - 60 homeless children, women and men enjoy a hot supper, a warm bed and a safe place to sleep, as well as hot breakfast and a bagged lunch the next day. Inn from the Cold staff can also provide guests with referrals to counseling, other shelter and housing programs, and food and clothing banks.

How ignorant I was. When I thought "homeless" - I pictured a derelict in a cardboard box. My point of view has been radically and rightly altered tonight. The people who need the emergency shelter often have jobs and kids in school but nowhere to live. I met a beautiful single mother tonight and her three well behaved children. There were other families and some individuals. All were polite and appreciative.

There, but for the grace of God, go I. Where do I sign up for regular volunteer duty?

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