Many Ways to Help
How to Help the Homeless
We see them at busy intersections or along highway exit ramps: beleaguered-faced women and men garbed in tattered clothing bearing crudely rendered cardboard signs reading Homeless and Hungry or Will Work for Food.
We are immediately plunged into a moral dilemma. Are we to dig into our wallets and purses and offer assistance or do we ignore these people on the grounds that they are inherently lazy and would likely spend our hard-earned cash on alcohol and tobacco?
Our Lord Jesus taught us to help the poor. He also said we are to be good stewards of our resources. So what are we to do? On one hand, we grieve at the thought of a battered neighbor weakened by gnawing pangs of hunger; likewise, the Apostle Paul said we are not to subsidize slothful behavior. To give or not to give; that is the question.
From the vantage point of a large urban rescue mission, we may be able to address this moral crisis with a measure of authority.
We are commanded to help the poor, but buying a homeless person’s next alcoholic drink could hardly be considered a charitable act.
The solution is to help the homeless by supporting a local Gospel rescue mission.
If you were to send us $100, we could feed a family of three for an entire month. In other words, we can provide a nourishing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a mother, father, and child for thirty days at a cost of about a dollar per meal. By working with local food banks, we can purchase food at a fraction of normal retail costs. Give a homeless man a five-dollar bill and he may buy a Big Mac, fries, and soda. Send us the same five dollars and we can feed five homeless people a nourishing lunch.
Alcoholism is a complex disease. An alcoholic is powerless over his or her addiction.
The cure is not simply a matter of mustering more will power; the alcoholic’s cravings are like an out of control rage that can seldom be tamed by mere human volition.
Our highly structured sober living program is a faith-based regimen that teaches the alcoholic to rely upon the power of Jesus Christ to break the chains and fetters of addiction.
Handing a homeless alcoholic a church tract or sharing a Bible verse, no matter how well-intentioned, is tantamount to hurling ping pong balls at a battleship.
A local Gospel rescue mission with its trained and experienced staff knows how to offer meaningful help to women and men bound by addiction. Your financial support of a Gospel rescue mission will fund programs and counselors who can lead alcoholics and substance abusers to lasting freedom that comes with sobriety.
Most Gospel rescue missions offer vocational training and this is an area in which we excel.
Wayside Christian Mission operates a twelve-story hotel that is staffed almost exclusively by women and men who are either enrolled in our recovery program or who have graduated from our recovery program.
Coupled with formal classroom training, we are able to equip our resident clients with the skills necessary for competing in today’s job market.
Besides this, we operate a thrift store that is staffed by our resident clients.
Our work therapy component provides classroom training with “hands-on” experience.
Education is an effective strategy for moving homeless persons back into the community. We offer a College and Career Program that allows homeless women and men to earn a degree while in our care. You will seldom find a person with an education sleeping beneath a viaduct or on a park bench.
The bottom line is simple; you may best help homeless persons by helping us. We have the know-how and resources to make dollars work harder and stretch farther—and we are staffed by well-trained workers who understand how to tackle the root causes of homelessness.