Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

During this season of A Night’s Welcome, there have been many exciting changes. Today H.E.L.P. is proud to announce that two (2) more chronically homeless program participants moved into housing. They willingly embraced their barriers to self-sufficiency and have taken the first steps in breaking those barriers down. We are honored to have served these two and know that many of you played a vital role encouraging them over the years. We are so excited that they will be living in a place that will help them deal with their addictions, have a stable and safe home environment and a place where they can grow in their faith. As they prepared to leave, there were tears of joy and thankfulness, handshakes and hugs that reflected the hand up that was given. They join a group of 22 men of the Night’s Welcome program that are on a pathway to self-sufficiency. This number does not include the numerous families and women that have been placed in housing this season. Please join us with prayers of thanksgiving as we continue to reduce the homeless population in our community one person at a time.

Sponsor of Foster Grandparents – 8th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

H.E.L.P. was a sponsor of Foster Grandparents 8th Annual MLK Day of Service.

foster3On January 12, 2012 H.E.L.P. participated and was a proud sponsor of the Foster Grandparent’s 8th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The event was held at the Northampton Community Center in Hampton. The day hosted a Senior Information and Educational Forum. Participants donated 119 pair of gloves and 219 pair of socks to H.E.L.P. to be utilized by our homeless clients at A Night’s Welcome. A special thank you to Jason Samuels, Hampton Department of Human Services and the Foster Grandparent Program for the invitation to participate.

 

foster1 foster2

A Stranger Comes A Knocking

When I was a young child, one of the first things my mother taught me was “Never open the door to a stranger!” And I remember wondering, “WHAT’S A STRANGER?” Is he or she like the boogey-person? I had no idea what she meant by either one.

How do you define a stranger to a child of five or six?

Is it the man or woman from the grocery store that he or she sees every week?

Is it the neighbor across the street who always give him or her candy?

Is it the elderly lady who sits on the porch next door?

As I grew older I realized what she meant.

Strangers are people who you don’t know well. You may have seen them before; you may even see them on a regular basis; but, you don’t invite them into your house. People are invited into your house only when you have gotten to know them well enough to trust them.

That rule works well for your house and many others in the communities. However, we can’t bring that same attitude into our churches or communities if we expect to help our brothers and sisters in need. There has to be somewhere…somewhere for folks to come in to receive respite from the elements, from the daily trials of life that have spiraled them into their present situations of crisis and need. And, they, for the most part are folks we don’t even know…a stranger.They will not have a key…neither do most of us…but, they are welcome to walk in whenever the door is unlocked.

The door was unlocked at Second Baptist Church (Hampton), First United Methodist Church and the Hampton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge during the first week of our Night’s Welcome Winter Shelter program for the homeless in our area. The men stayed at First United Methodist Church and the women stayed at Second Baptist Church in Hampton. The Fraternal Order of Police unlocked their doors on Saturday evening to welcome the men for dinner and fellowship, since First United Methodist had a previously scheduled event. Brent Musgrove the President of the FOP Lodge stated, “you (HELP) have a need and we are here to help”.

 

Second Baptist Church in Hampton unlocked their doors to the women. This 2011-2012 season is the first year that the Church has participated as a host site for the Nights Welcome Program. Pastor Brenda McDonald stated that hosting the women at the church for a week “brought about a realization by those who volunteered that their mission expands beyond the doors of the church…it brought us closer together as a family”. The church is looking forward to unlocking the doors again next year to the women for a week.

(Second Baptist Church in Hampton)

When strangers come knocking on your door, open the door and let them in.

Don’t stop them at the door with a cold look or a limp handshake. Let them in!

When at church or at a public place, don’t put your purse on the seat next to you so they won’t sit near you. Let them in!

Let them into your personal space, and let them see the love in you. Don’t give them your cold shoulder. Let them in!

Don’t worry about the tattoos and earrings. Just let them in!

Don’t worry about their outward appearance. Just let them in!

Don’t worry about their rough language. Just let them in!

You were a stranger once, but somebody let you in. So, our mothers may have been right about not letting a stranger in but she forgot to tell us that we will someday be a stranger to someone and they will let us in and our life will not be the same. Change occurs when we go against the norm and we let ideas, philosophies and people in our lives…into our space. Those who host the most vulnerable folks in our communities realize that you have to unlock the door to let them in!!!

Thanksgiving Day Message by Rev. Charles Cheek

There was a Thanksgiving Day Message by Rev. Charles Cheek, Executive Board Chairperson. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. There are some very happy previously homeless families and individuals who are enjoying there Thanksgiving Day in a warm, safe and secure home. Thanks to H.E.L.P.’s Executive Director Charlotte Dillow, staff and homeless skilled volunteers who prepared our transistional housing and family shelter units and made ready in time for them to move in. Now, let me ready for an afternoon of fellowship and a feast with my homeless family at our Nights Welcome Winter Shelter. God’s continued blessings to you and your families.