We Love Everybody and You’re Next!
As I sat outside the Chinese restaurant recently, waiting for my order and enjoying the summer weather, I witnessed something I have not seen in years. As I watched the activity around me I noticed a young woman approaching. Her dire poverty was immediately evident. She was dirty, ragged and visibly unhealthy like many of the homeless I’ve encountered through the years, even as far back as my youth when I caught pigeons for the hobos who lived under the railroad trestles, for their stew. I realize now that God was turning my heart toward the poor even then. Still, I was totally surprised to see her head straight to the garbage can in front of me and began to pull out half eaten containers of food. An abundance of food had accumulated from the Chinese and Spanish restaurants that sat next to each other. I was horrified and immediately got out of my car and took her into the restaurant to freely order what she needed.
There are always people, usually men, asking for money in front of these restaurants. The last time I was there a member of our Center was there washing car windows for change. I purchased him and his girlfriend a meal and I usually give the men various amounts of change or cash, according to my finances. I also see men at various places on Cedar Crest Blvd. holding signs professing their need. The other day, in front of my food market, it was a single woman asking help for her family. I am somewhat ambivalent about helping all these people with money because I know that sometimes they will use it for drugs or alcohol as I often did in my former life. Also, there are many community resources available to help them back on their feet. From shelters to D&A resources, to soup kitchens & food banks, and other assorted church and secular resources, you can be helped from homelessness, hunger and addiction to stability. I know this because it was done for me, but for various reasons not everyone is as fortunate as I was.
When the system works it’s beautiful. Lives are restored from hopelessness and despair to models of God’s intent for humanity. Many of these lives then endeavor to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Having witnessed and even facilitated this miraculous transformation throughout the years it is that much more painful to see when the system doesn’t work. At Jerusalem House we try to keep people from reaching this point of poverty and despair, but too often we must turn families away because we don’t have enough resources. Its’ painful sending them away often to choose between eating, putting clothes on their children’s’ backs, buying pampers, toilet paper, other personal hygiene items, medicine, or furniture, etc. or paying the rent. When we fail these families it’s a disaster that can lead to eating from garbage cans.
Jerusalem House is currently behind in our own bills, and so low in resources we might have to turn even members away for lack of basic food, clothing and household items. By faith, we’re still planning our annual “Back to School” effort, to be held on Saturday, August 25th, from 1:00 to 3:00 and we need bookbags, school supplies and uniforms. Everyone that benefits from this effort is on the verge of becoming that homeless person begging on the streets and eating from garbage cans. Together we have and can slow or stop their descent. God only knows where me and my two children would be if people like you, had not supported places like Jerusalem House Ministries, who in turn helped us. Please consider our urgent needs and send your best gift of support asap. By the way, as I pulled away from the woman I looked in my rear view only to witness her return to the garbage can. Her fear of future hunger would not let her pass up the treasure it held. It’s a sight we fight to never have to witness again. With all our hope, thanks and blessings,
Dan, Peaches, Michal
& the Jerusalem House Volunteers
202 N. 9TH STREET – P.O. BOX 8569 – ALLENTOWN, PA. 18105 – (610) 776-7794