We shouldn't be surprised, but once again we are overwhelmed by the way you responded to our friends' urgent needs during the recent cold weather emergency. We want to thank every single person who supported us—you prayed for us, you donated, and you volunteered. While we get to consistently share how grateful we are for the ways you support this work, you don't always get to hear it directly from our friends on the street. You don't always hear the stories and witness the work of God's grace, as he allows us to use your gifts to care for those to whom he has called us.
We met a new friend at an encampment on Monday of last week, a few hours after snow had blanketed the ground. Just as we arrived to pass out breakfast to people still outside, he came out of his tent. We learned that he had been attacked while sleeping at a shelter—he had stitches under his eye and multiple broken bones in his face. So, he chose to stay outside, instead of move into one of the emergency shelters. When we handed him a McDonald’s sandwich, the simple gift of a hot meal and unexpected kindness, brought him to tears.
Later that morning, our Director of Advocacy, Nick, shared with him that we would like to get him into a motel for a couple of nights. He agreed and got in the passenger seat of Nick’s car. For the entire 15-minute car ride to the motel, he wept. When he was able to speak again, he explained to Nick, “Last night, I felt my heart beating in a way I hadn’t felt before, and I really believed I was going to die because of the cold." He kept repeating, "You are an angel, a blessing from God, and you saved my life.”
When we do this work during freezing weather, we know that it can be lifesaving. For our new friend, not only did he know that a warm motel room saved his life, but through his experience, he also knew that God saw him and loved him. It is in these spaces that we see the hope and healing that friendship brings.
When we took our new friend back to his encampment, we got him lunch, and supplies to keep him warm. We spoke with the shelter where he had been staying, and we're working with him to try to get back in and connected with a case manager. We have plans to meet up with him later this week and continue working with him. This work doesn't end when the weather gets better or when someone returns to a shelter. Friendship endures and there is always more to do. Your support encourages us as we continue along this journey.
We would not be out in these encampments, on the fringes of society, with the people who don't feel comfortable going to the large emergency shelters*, if it were not for your support. We could not do this work without you, and we thank you for showing God’s love to our friends on the streets.
Thank you for supporting the work of The Human Impact.
*To learn why people often don't want to go to emergency shelters, please click here.