Monday, May 18, 2009

Mission 4 Monday


Homelessness has been rapidly rising over the last two decades. The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty reports that up to 750,000 Americans are homeless every night, while there are only 250,000 spaces available in overcrowded homeless shelters. Sometimes, entire families become homeless, with no place to go, other than the streets.

If you're like most people, you get annoyed when someone asks for a handout. Perhaps you're apprehensive to assist because you think, "they should get a job", or "they're not going to do anything with the money but drink it or smoke it". Fortunately, you have the luxury of frowning down on the less fortunate, rather than living in their shoes.

According to the Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are an estimated 11 million Americans who are at a high risk of homelessness and poverty. Many are either spending over half of their paycheck on housing often doubled up with others in overcrowded conditions or live in houses that are falling apart.

Many homeless people put forth great efforts to better themselves. It is not an easy feat for a person to obtain employment, when they have no permanent residence, limited education, mental or physical limitations, and minimum skills. As a result, many of the homeless are forced to earn a living by begging, or by selling items they find while rummaging through the trash. Imagine that.

Like all of us, homeless people need love, support, and a chance to demonstrate what they have to contribute to the world.

Frankly, the homeless have had more than their fair share of 'no' for an answer. There is a way that you can give them the 'yes' that they have been seeking, but probably not expecting.

Admittedly, it is not always easy to decipher whether or not a person who appears homeless is actually a person in need, or just a person who hustles for other purposes. Nonetheless, we should do what our hearts dictate, and not be dissuaded by what someone might do with our good intentions.

A simple meal is a heartfelt gesture. To clear your conscious of "What if they don't spend the money on food?", you can go the extra step and buy meal certificates to feed the homeless.

Fast food establishments such as McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts, among others, all sell gift certificates, and some start at as little as $1. The next time you patronize one of these establishments, or if you are just going passed one, stop in and purchase some gift certificates, in the amount that you can afford.

Then, the next time you see a homeless person on the street, hand them a food gift certificate. It will do your heart good.


Alicia said...

Hi Denise!
I agree..if we are giving it for the right reasons, however they choose to spend that money is between them and the Lord.

I do like the idea of gift certificates though!

Shelby said...

Denise, this is a FABULOUS idea! I very rarely carry cash but how hard could it be to stuff a few gift cards into my wallet? Thanks!

luvmy4sons said...

Great idea!

MyJourneyBack said...

What a beautiful post and what a great idea. Wouldn't it be fantastic if it was to take off and people would do this. Wouldn't it be amazing if the resturants you mentioned would get behind this! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll be posting but it will be later today.
Many Blessings have a great week.

Samantha said...

What a great idea, then you know that they will be getting food !

Gretchen said...

This is a great idea post, friend. Also, we give out off ramp ministry bags (toothbrushes, bus schedules, etc), as well. We cannot get through the eye of that needle on our camels. We must love on the poor.

bp said...

Oh I just love this idea! I hadn't thought of that! Thanks.

PW said...

Hi, I'm new to Mission 4 Monday. I love your post about the homeless. I worked as a volunteer at an innercity soup kitchen a couple of times. Talk about eyeopening experiences!!!!! I love your idea about gift certificates....thanks.

conarnold said...

Thank you for this suggestion, Denise! It's a wonderful way to help those in need and, as you say, be assured that what you give won't be misused. There's a fine line between being judgemental and being careful in what you do. When we help those in need, we are actually giving to Jesus too!

Peggy said...

Ohhh Denise...what a perfect idea!
Amazing heart and great way to share with others not as fortunate!

You come up with such good ideas! You are just a blessing!

Each week you make Mission 4 Monday a place of blessings! We have a new person sure to visit her. I linked you!

Jules said...

LOVE, LOVE this idea, sweetie!! What a wonderful idea!! You always have such great ideas! I love you.

Jensmere said...

Thanks for this good reminder. I have often thought that I should keep some of these gift cards in my car....just haven't done it as yet.

Seeing your post has reminded me to put some action behind the idea!

Bless you,