Home Sweet Home opportunities

Hey everyone, check out this link to the homeless shelter in Bloomington, IL. It’s called Home Sweet Home Ministries and is located near the Monicals on Main Street in Bloomington.

Two Sundays ago, one of the moms of CYM and I took a group of 4 students down to HSH to do what they would call Adopt-a-meal.  Because the evening meal came on such short notice and we were uncertain of how many students could attend, we actually bought food that was already pre-made that we only had to throw in the oven to get ready.  We served Lasagna, garlic bread, chocolate cake, fruit salad, and lettuce salad to around 50 clients at the shelter.

We had to have dinner ready by 6 pm that evening. The opportunity is fantastic because they open up all of the appliances in the kitchen for groups to come and use to make the meal.  It’s a great chance for adult leaders and students to come and enjoy making a meal together while also interacting with those who may be struggling in the current economy.  Not only that, it’s a conversation-starter with students because they always have questions about the people that they see and talk to at the shelter.

For example,  one of the biggest questions was how the clients who came into the shelter for the free evening meal seemed to be able to afford an Mp3 player but could not afford to get their own food.  Several clients who came through the line for food had headphones in their ears as they grabbed their food and went to a table.  It was funny hearing this question because I used to think the very same thing and assume that the people who had them most likely either stole the music player or valued the entertainment more than what the money could have bought for them like food or other necessities.  It was interesting because I challenged them to think outside of the box and theorize some other ways that the people might have gotten the music player rather than the usual assumptions that we, as privileged middle-class Americans, often have about homeless people.  I suggested that maybe these individuals had the music players long before they were homeless or could not afford those things that they needed.  It is possible that they were affluent enough to afford a music player until they happened to lose their job in the poor economy.  Then one of the students asked why they did not try to sell the music player in order to get more money, to which I responded that maybe the individual has no internet access or avenue for selling the music player.  Not only that but why would they have to get rid of their music player if they were running out of money or could not afford certain things?  Maybe it’s a source of encouragement and hope for them.

What we often do not realize is that the easiest way to find out about people’s lives and their background is to get out of our comfort zone and talk to them.  So often, we get caught up in talking about someone based on their appearances and the things that we can learn from our own stereotypes about people, which is completely wrong and not Jesus-like.  In fact, Jesus went to those people whom many in his time and culture would not associate with (the Samaritan woman, the lepers, and the blind man just to name a few).  Many Israelite people also made assumptions about these people, based on their own stereotypes, rather than trying to get to know the person and their background.  Hopefully, one day we will realize that we’re all on the same playing field in God’s eyes.  We’ll better understand that no one is better or worse than another according to Jesus.

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~ by randallkoehler on March 14, 2011.

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