Christmas gift ministry honors ‘the most famous homeless person who ever lived’
A report from ‘A’ News Vancouver Island in Canada highlights the work of the church-supported ministry Homelesspartners.com.
In this video, church member Daniel Keeran talks about using Christmastime to honor “the most famous homeless person who ever lived.”
One unique aspect of the ministry is that volunteers interview homeless people and get their Christmas “wish list” instead of just donating items to shelters — not knowing if the homeless want them or not.
Daniel and his wife, Jennie, have launched Homeless Partners programs in Vancouver and Calgary. Here’s a news story from 2007 about the ministry.
Later that year, Jennie wrote a Views piece detailing how they got the ministry off the ground — and how other churches can start similar programs:
The project requires no financial commitment. Everything can be done with short-term, volunteer labor. The wish list project can enhance any existing project, including coat or toy drives. Adding the power of personal stories can increase people’s interest.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” This is what happened in Vancouver and Calgary. Christians let their light shine for the whole community to see the result of God’s love and grace.
Some of the homeless who had been on the street for decades changed their hardened, weathered expressions into ones of beaming children on Christmas morning when they read their name on.gif?Action=thumbnail&Width=460&algorithm=proportionalts and received cards created just for them. One woman said, “The most encouraging thing is knowing that people care. I find it really encouraging that total strangers could care so much about someone they don’t even know.”
The ministry’s website lists programs in several Canadian and U.S. cities — including Dallas, Las Vegas and Las Angeles.
For more information, see homelesspartners.com or the website of the Shelbourne Street Church of Christ in Victoria, British Columbia.
I got to meet a few folks who have benefited from this ministry when I traveled to Calgary to <a href=”https://www.christianchronicle.org/article2158917~Lead_me_to_Calgary” rel=”nofollow”>write about the Calgary church</a> last year.
Norm Saunders was one of the homeless people that I met:
<blockquote>At Christmastime, volunteers led by church member Brandi Mooney coordinate a project to collect gifts for hundreds of homeless people.
Last year, Norm Saunders, 34, a resident of the Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre, asked for a guitar � and got it.
�I was just overwhelmed,� he said, praising church members for sitting down with shelter residents, talking about their lives and attempting to fulfill their holiday wishes.
Making music with fellow homeless people has brought hope to his life, he said.
�I mean, I can�t walk down on the (shelter) floor without everyone coming up and shaking my hand and giving me a hug and saying, �Hey, keep it up,�� he said. �It�s amazing.�</blockquote>Bobby Ross Jr.December, 10 2010