Where did you sleep last night?
Can you imagine sleeping outdoors during inclement weather? Having nowhere to sleep during the bitter cold days and nights? I’m talking about the type of weather that closes schools, stops traffic, causes drivers to abandon their vehicles, shuts down streets and empties grocery store shelves.
The snow hit the Pacific Northwest hard this winter season. When it hit, it really hit.
Many of us had time to prepare. The snow was predicted with ample warning. We pulled out our warm clothing, snow boots, hats, scarves, and gloves. Or we retreated into our homes. We turned up our heat, had food to eat, as well as all the comforts needed to get through this season. Others, however, were not so fortunate.
According to Wikipedia, there’s an estimated 12,500 plus homeless people living on the streets or in shelters in the greater Seattle area.
A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation.
In the Seattle area, we have shelters for men, women and children: Mary’s Place, Mary’s Place North, Union Gospel Mission Hope Place, Sacred Heart Shelter, Jubilee Women’s Center, Blaine Center Homeless Ministry, Compass Housing Alliance, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission Men’s Shelter, Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (ages 18-24) --just to name a few. We also have Tent Cities and Tiny House Villages scattered throughout the city.
The faith-based communities are equally involved in addressing homelessness. Area wide, faith communities provide nightly shelter in churches, synagogues or mosques.
Ask yourself, “How can I help? What can I do?” The answer is simple. Find an organization with a mission that you are passionate about. Or, you may donate clothing, shoes, coats, blankets, toys, books, food, and money. As often as shelter is given, meals are served, and clothing provided — funds and resources are needed.
Create an opportunity for yourself. Nonprofit organizations are always looking for volunteers to help. Share your resources, time and talents. Collectively we can reach at least one person and make an exponential difference in the lives of many.