‘God has changed my heart’
Also, read our related story: “Cold nights, warm hearts: Churches become homeless shelter.”
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Recently, the Culver Palms Church of Christ hosted our first community forum on homelessness in Los Angeles to provide an opportunity to dig deeper into our knowledge about the homeless and examine the macro and micro view on how to address this issue.
The focus was on how we can be better educated about homelessness, how we can better advocate for those homeless and how we can be better friends to homeless persons. Our panelists included some of the leading advocates and representatives from government agencies addressing homelessness in Los Angeles.
Mark Manassee, Los Angeles
At the Hickman Road Church of Christ, we partner with a Christ-centered nonprofit called Joppa Outreach. Once a month, I lead a route and invite a few members — adults and children — to help me deliver to the unsheltered in Des Moines a hot meal; other foods like produce, meats, bread; core necessities like toilet paper; and tents, gloves, hats, blankets, boots and even propane heaters.
We meet them where they are living: in the woods, along railroad tracks, in their cars, etc. The main goal is to not just drop these things off and run but to build relationships with them. Listen to them and their needs. Pray with them if the situation calls for that. Take a genuine interest in their lives and well-being. It’s something that they definitely don’t encounter on a day-to-day basis.
It’s important to me because God has changed my heart to care for the homeless.
Dug Campbell, Des Moines, Iowa
Jesus had a special place in his heart for the children, and as followers of the Savior, the Oak Hill Church of Christ in Rome, Ga., decided to change the month of October to Socktober and collect socks for the youngest of the community in need.
The concept of Socktober was born in Henderson, Tenn., by Brad Montague, and the movement exploded with the backing of Kid President, an internet sensation produced by Montague and featuring the amazing Robby Novak.
At Oak Hill, the church family decided to bring the idea to the local community as part of the church’s outreach in the Rome community. There was also a tremendous need in the homeless community, so the congregation also determined to collect 1,000 pairs of socks for the homeless shelters in the community. The total goal for the schoolchildren and the homeless was to collect 6,000 pairs of socks during the month of October.
We looked to 1 John 3:17 as we worked: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?’ as we worked to reach our goal throughout Socktober.” The Oak Hill family surpassed the goal!
Andrew Shelton, Rome, Ga.
Because we’re a downtown church, the RiverWalk Church of Christ emphasizes service to the homeless.
That includes serving at the downtown overflow shelter; helping at the Lord’s Diner, a no-questions-asked place where anyone can get a hot meal every evening of the year; operating our own food pantry and clothing ministry; and providing a place where the homeless can come in off of the street for needs we can meet at our building.
Jay Plank, Wichita, Kan.