We can never help create justice if we do not know those whom we seek justice for. You can go to a shelter, especially a day shelter. There are shelters like this where the homeless can exist without harassment in almost every major city of the United States. Go and listen. You can volunteer, or help, if you like. But your primary goal is to listen to the homeless and find out about their lives. What are their struggles, what are their joys, what are their hopes and what keeps them from obtaining their hope? As we talk with the homeless we will find out that, just like housed people, a few may be criminals, but most are not. We will find out that we really enjoy spending time with some of these folks. We will find out who can be trusted and who can’t be. And we will find out the policies and habits of our city that make their lives miserable.
Anawim has a day shelter four days a week which is an opportunity for people from other churches and community members to meet with, listen to and connect with the homeless. Sometimes these connections turn into jobs or even life turn-arounds.
Melissa always talked to herself, and no one could understand her. Sometimes she’d be speaking to people whom no one else could see and sometimes she would be angrily raging at the world. Nevertheless, she had a peaceful, if confused, core underneath it all. She would go to AA meetings for the coffee, and camp with some of the safer guys for protection. At Anawim and another local church Maureen would meet with some of the folks, but she had a lot of sympathy for Melissa, and would listen to her, to try to understand her, no matter how difficult it was.
Because of this time, Maureen took Melissa in her house, advocated to get her on disability, took her to psychiatrists, made sure she took medication and gave her an opportunity. Now Melissa is completely in her right mind, at peace with herself and able to volunteer to help others.
Anawim played a small role in that story, but providing the opportunity for Melissa to have a safe place to be where Maureen could meet her was important. Dozens of community members from different classes meet every week at Anawim. If you’d like to help Anawim keep their day shelter open, please go this link to help us out financially so we could keep our doors open.