Churches doing what they can to address homelessness

Various reports from the past few days have pinpointed some congregations’ involvement in the effort to help the homeless.

The Hanford, CA, Sentinel reports on a rapidly-assembled dinner that inspired those responsible to try other things.

[Motorcycle club Asphalt Assault President Richard] Carrasco said he talked to officials at the Episcopal Church of the Saviour Soup Kitchen three weeks ago and the event was born. He then returned to town last week to pass out flyers and tell those seeking help to pass the word.

By the time they arrived to set up just before 3 p.m. Saturday, 30-40 people were already waiting. More than a dozen club members and their families pitched in, quickly assembling boxed dinners from the back of a motor home. A “Free Food” sign was prominently displayed, and the club was prepared to serve 150 meals.

“We’re just feeding the hungry, the needy, the homeless, whoever wants to show up,” said Carrasco. “We wish we could do this every year.”

From the Philadelphia area, has the story of a coalition of churches that are trying to begin a homeless shelter. They’ve trained 100 volunteers so far, but need 150 more.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Covenant Church and several other area churches and community service organizations have joined to offer the homeless in Central and Upper Bucks a place to stay on nights when temperatures drop below 20 degrees. The churches and service organizations call themselves the Coalition to Shelter and Support the Homeless.

The coalition was formed early in 2010, when Peter Oliver, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, approached [Rev. Lucy Amerman of Trinity Episcopal Church in Buckingham] and told her he felt called to do something for the homeless in Central Bucks. Oliver declined to be interviewed for this story through a coalition representative….

Amerman said she agreed to host the shelter because she “felt strongly that this was something we should do as a church in the community.”

“We think of it as the work God called us to do,” she said.

Meanwhile, in Waterbury, CT, the opposite problem persists. A church-roving overflow homeless shelter has volunteers who are aging out, and fresh help is the order of the day. But without new leaders stepping up, the program may go away.

From Virginia, a slide show at about homeless veterans quietly mentions the work of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington and its dinner program.

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