Our journey with the homeless
We have just completed our two-week commitment to open our community center as an overflow shelter for some of the homeless people in Erie. It was an experience none of us who participated in will ever forget. Although we provided a warm, safe and clean place for these people to sleep every night for two weeks, as well as providing them with a hot meal in the evening and breakfast in the morning, all of us who volunteered at the shelter will agree that we were the ones that were blessed by this experience. God bestowed a great gift upon us by sending His homeless children to us and allowing us to care for them, and we are richer for it. Our compassion and understanding has been increased; we will never look at another indigent person again without seeing the face of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ because He was, indeed, in each of their faces. He was in the face of the man who slept on the floor every night at the side of his wife; He was in the face of the young boy who was just released from prison and was struggling to get his life back on track; He was in the face of the older woman who lost her nursing job. You just had to look and you would see Our Lord present in all their faces.
Our Lord Jesus Christ offered this experience to each and every one of us in the parish; unfortunately, many of you chose to decline this wonderful opportunity - how sad for you! But our Heavenly Father continues to bestow His mercy on us by allowing us to continue to support the efforts of those people who are striving to alleviate the plight of the homeless in Erie. We will still be collecting items for the homeless shelters, and you may deposit your donations in the bins in the church basement or drop them off at the Community Center. Items needed: socks, underwear (men’s and women’s), combs, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, soap, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, tooth paste, mouth wash and shampoo. All of the toiletries should be purchased in the small, travel size and are available at stores like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. As always, monetary donations to pay for these items are always gratefully accepted. Also, if you would like to provide a casserole or soup for the shelter, please contact Mother Maria or Daria Devlin.
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855, French-born Quaker Minister