FOR ME, the issue of homelessness hits close to home. Many people in our area who have no place to live congregate and camp along the nearby Puyallup River. To “take care of the problem,” members of the community have tried to force these people to leave. But where can they go? Shelters in the area are always overflowing with people who need housing. As the homeless population — and the controversy — have continued to grow in the Tacoma and Puyallup areas, so has my vision to create change within my community.
My passion for helping others was sparked by my volunteer work with Freezing Nights, a program my church participates in to help feed and house people during the colder winter months. The longer I volunteered, the more stories I heard about how people had ended up on the street. I came face to face with people who truly know what it’s like to have lost everything. Realizing the hardships our homeless community faces all year long really opened my eyes. ….
Feeling compelled to help, I began doing online research about blessing bags, boxes, and donation sites in general. Soon, I clicked a link for “Blessing Boxes” and started looking at the pictures. Before I knew it, I was writing down measurements to begin construction.
I wasn’t sure if a Blessing Box would be possible in my area because of the way some people view homelessness. I decided to talk with my pastor, Karen Yokota Love, about my vision that our neighborhood’s homeless population might have a place to go for resources, without being chastised for the way they live. I explained that I wanted to build a “Blessing Box” to offer a take-what-you-need and donate-what-you-can type of investment in and by the community. For example, if someone forgot a side dish for dinner, she could check the Blessing Box; if it’s cold, someone might look for gloves or a sweater; if it is 10 o’clock at night and someone is out of dog food, he can stop by the Blessing Box for essentials! …
I’m amazed by what has happened since I stopped dreaming about creating change and started working to make my vision a reality. Still actively involved in my community, I want to give back and help others, not just those who are homeless but anyone in need. I am so appreciative of my church’s encouragement, and I hope the Blessing Box will be an inspiration to other communities.
—Kheira Bach, age 18
devozine, July/Aug. 2017
From pages 17-19 of devozine, the devotional lifestyle magazine for teens, July/August 2017. Copyright © 2017 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Is there homelessness in your area? What opportunities are there to help? Share your thoughts.
And [Jesus] said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
John 1:51, NRSV
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This week we remember: Emily Balch (January 9).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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