The Church which we've been attending is encouraging us to participate in serving the needy populations of our community, which is what Jesus talks about in Matthew 25:40:
"...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (NIV)
Tonight I had the opportunity to participate in serving a meal to the resident of The Delores Project, a homeless shelter for women in Denver. The experience was wonderful, more fun than I had expected, a great example of teamwork, and it changed a lot of my ideas about homelessness. It has been easy for me to be comfortable with homelessness, thinking that if they wanted to, they could get out of it, or that all homeless people are mentally ill. The reality is that many of the women I met tonight are educated and once had careers. Things like illness/injury made them unable to work and unable to be rehired, and without income they are without homes. Another woman I met had worked for a large corporation that went belly-up and took not only her income, but her retirement savings. There are many who suffer from mental illness, and I am coming to realize that our health system fails our mental health patients in many ways, so they are victims not only of their illness, but also of the system which is supposed to help them.
What a blessing to meet these ladies, and to see how appreciative they were of a meal similar to those we feed our family routinely. I realized that things which I do every day and think nothing of, such as going and buying groceries, or possessions that I take for granted, like blankets, towels, and warm coats, are truly something that I should be grateful for, because there are people not very far from me who are lacking those things.
I am looking forward to returning there, and find myself thinking of other needs which I have the means to meet for some of these women.