While I’m looking forward to green bean casserole and searching for the perfect gluten-free crescent roll for Thanksgiving next week, there are many–far too many–in our community who are just hoping to have something, anything to eat every day or a warm place to sleep. It’s Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week….and are you aware of just how major a problem this is? Here are a few statistics for you just about youth homelessness alone:
- Family crisis is the absolute most prevalent reason homeless youth cite for being homeless
- 20-40% of homeless youth experienced sexual abuse in their former homes, as opposed to 1-3% of the rest of the population
- 40-60% of homeless youth have experienced physical violence in their homes before living on the streets
- Up to 40% of homeless youth identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or Questioning
- 28% of homeless youth on the street report trading sexual favors to receive a basic need–food, clothing or shelter
My brothers and sisters, how do we let this happen? We should be outraged! We should be sorrowful! We should be doing something. Jesus told His followers that whatever acts of mercy and charity we give to a brother or sister in need, we do for Him (Matthew 25.40). Let’s see Christ in the needy and join together to help. There are a couple opportunities coming up at the Newman Center to do this, and more possibly to come.
Join us this weekend as we collect items for a Thanksgiving basket to donate to the Keene State College Annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive. Baskets will be collected at the Student Center on November 20th (join us in the Newman Center Common Room that morning to put it together and carry it over!) and given to hungry families in the area.
Things We Need for the Basket:
1 Jar of pickles
1 Jar of green or black olives
1 Bag of celery (keep cool to avoid wilting or include in gift certificate)
1 Bag of carrots (keep cool to avoid wilting or include in gift certificate)
1 Box of crackers/non-perishable dip
1 Box/Bag raisins
1 Gift Card – $15-$20 – to buy a turkey
1 Box/bag of stuffing mix *(note: some bags require additional items like seasoning or celery, etc.)
1 5lb bag of potatoes
2 Lbs of winter squash, turnip, or sweet potato
2 Cans green vegetables
1 Can of cranberry sauce
2 Bottles/cans of juice (cranberry, apple juice, tomato)
1 Bread item (brown ‘n serve rolls, hot roll mix, loaf of bread, etc.)
2 Jars/cans Gravy
Small white onions
1 Box of pie crust mix
1 16 oz can of pie filling: pumpkin, apple, cherry, blueberry
1-2 Cake mixes, fruit bread mixes, etc.
If you have canned goods that aren’t on this list, that’s okay! Bring them along too and we’ll donate them to the St. Vincent dePaul Food Pantry! You can also drop donations in the box outside the Newman Center Office.
Second, you can join us in praying for the homeless and hungry. This might not sound like much, but Scripture says that faith the size of a mustard seed (read: really, really small!) can move a mountain (really, really big!). So what if you have faith the size of a flower seed? Or an orange? Or a basketball? Lift up our needy brothers and sisters in prayer, and God will use you to enact justice, I promise you that. Please join me in praying the following:
Sharing the loaves and fishes,
You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.
Sharing yourself in the Bread and Wine,
You called all to the table, O Lord.
Give me the hunger to be a part of the feeding
And the healing of this world.
Nourish me with your Grace,
So I may work with joy to serve your children.
Open my eyes and my heart
To recognize those in poverty
And increase my awareness
Of the structures and systems
That need to be changed
So we may all break bread together.
In your name we pray for the end of hunger.
Be blessed, and go be Christ to others.