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Help for the Homeless

A few years ago I watched a documentary called “Every Mother counts“.   I learned so much from watching this and I think about it often.  But one thing that stuck with me most was the mother’s who didn’t have the resources to give their children what they NEED.  Through no fault of their own, these mother’s weren’t able to give their children basic life necessities.  Sometimes no homes.  Sometimes no food.  No clean environment to birth them in or raise them in.

I remember thinking how horrific it would be to not be able to provide my own kids with the very things they need just to stay alive.  Shelter, clean water, food.  Basic necessities.  I come back to this documentary often when I start to feel bad about not giving my kids “enough”.  My kids have NO idea how lucky they are.  And I try to always remember how lucky I am to have all the resources I have to take care of my children’s needs.

I’m going somewhere with this.

 

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know my heart is with the homeless.  I hate that people have no place to call home, regardless of what they may or may  not have done in their life.  I feel for the men.  I feel for the women.  I feel for the addicts, the mentally ill, and the people just down on their luck.  I especially feel for the families.  And the parents.  And the kids.  Who find themselves living in the homeless shelter for any length of time.

I went on a tour of our local homeless shelter several months ago.  I learned more than I can express in words and it has deepened my desire to be more involved with the homeless community.  I recently found out our local shelter (The Road Home in Utah) is in need of sack lunches for preschool age children (1-5), and during the summer, all school age children.  When people stay at the shelter they are responsible for their own food.  There is a very small “food bank” at the shelter for emergency purposes, but the people are expected to find/provide their own food.  There are places downtown that provide meals for those in need, but standing in those lines with your family and taking children into some of those environments would be tough.  School age kids can get discounted meals at school.  The homeless shelter has several volunteers who run a small preschool at the shelter.  They let in about 25 kids for the preschool.  At any given time there are around 60 preschool age kids at the homeless shelter who don’t get lunches through school.

 

I have been in contact with a volunteer coordinator at the shelter who has given me the following information.  If you aren’t local to Utah, I imagine your local homeless shelter is in need of various service projects if you wanted to contact them directly.  For those in Utah, I would LOVE for this blog community to help step up and provide lunches for these kids in need.  You can do it on your own, with a youth group, or get a group of friends, family members or neighbors together and do it as a group with everyone contributing something.  The best part about a service project like this is that you can get your kids involved.

This is a new program at our shelter and they are continuing this project through the summer.  For the first week and last week of summer, they need 180 sack lunches (when all the kids in the shelter will be around).  For the rest of the weeks in summer they need 60 lunches (when the school-aged kids will be at summer school or boys and girls club).  The lunches need to be dropped off at 10:30am on your assigned day.  The staff will start distributing meals around 11 am each day.  Though they can only fit about 25 kids in the preschool, they are still trying to provide all 60 kids with a lunch (and all 180 kids on the days when ALL the kids will be at the shelter).

IMG_2859_1These lunches are for children 5 and under so they don’t need to be huge elaborate lunches.  And they’re normal kids so they’ll probably eat the same kind of things your kids will eat.  Some ideas would be:  a sandwich, cheese sticks, go-gurts, chips, fruit snacks, applesauce or fruit cups, crackers, carrot sticks, raisins, cuties (oranges), juice box, or 20-30 bananas or apples they could cut up and divide out.  The same type of things you’d give any toddler/pre-k kid for lunch.

 

To sign up for a day, you can go directly to this link and pick the day you want on the sign-up form or you can contact Craig Foster at cfoster@theroadhome.org or 801-819-7293.  It would be amazing if we could fill up the calendar for the summer.  They were going to discontinue it for the summer but it’s been going so well it will be good to keep the momentum.

If you have questions you can contact Craig directly or feel free to ask me and I’ll answer what I can!

 

And if you would PLEASE share this with your social media friends (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and friends and family, it would be helpful to spread the word as much as possible.  Utah is becoming “famous” for taking care of its homeless population because we CARE (if you haven’t watched this video, you must.  It’s awesome!).  I’d love for all of us to be part of the community that cares.

 

THANK YOU in advance to all of you for being amazing and helping parents keep their kids fed.  I get e-mails every day from this community and I know how incredible everyone is.  If we can do one small thing to alleviate a huge pressure for some parents, that small thing becomes a BIG thing.  Bless those parents, families, and kids.  I pray they can find a place to call home and stability as soon as possible.

 

{A friend of mine has already done this for the shelter.  She bought her supplies at Walmart and talked to a store manager about what she was doing.  They gave her a discount on the groceries. Worth a shot at any store!  And if interested, you can get a donation slip for a tax write-off when you drop the lunches at the shelter.}

{ALSO, the homeless shelter is ALWAYS in need of new socks and underwear for adult men and women.  Socks are like gold there.  So if you decide to do lunches and wanted to take a pack or two of new socks or underwear as well it would be greatly appreciated!  Baby formula is also a much needed item.}

 

For some practical ideas on what you can DO and TAKE to other people in need, this has been an amazing resource for me put together with the help of many many friends.

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