Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Summer is upon us with a vengeance. We are moving into the season that, in my experience, is the most dangerous for our homeless community. As we move towards 100+ degree days being the norm instead of the exception I wanted to share a bit about what I am doing, and share some ways that you can help.
First, the best, safest, healthiest strategy for getting through the summer is to get off of the street. One of my guiding principles has been that we do not need to make staying homeless easier, we need to make it easier to stop being homeless. To that end, even the relief and "harm reduction" that we can offer MUST always include encouraging people towards lasting change. Thankfully, with Covid restrictions being lifted there are more and more places that people can go to get help. Let's help them get there!
Second, water is a major concern. This is especially true for strangers and friends who are living on the true margins of society. All through the summer I will be helping people get bulk water out to where they are staying. Five gallon jugs are ideal because they are reusable, do not create a lot of excess waste, and last a long time. The CDC recommends Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days for drinking and sanitation. People need a lot of water. If you have old 5 gallon jugs, or would like to donate them I would appreciate it! Contact me directly if you want to contribute!
"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" - John 4.13-14
As Jesus told the Samaritan woman, mere water from a well is not going to quench the deep thirst we all have inside of us, but meeting that woman at that simple well was the catalyst for a life-changing conversation. Water through the summer may save someone from dehydration and physical death, but it is not sufficient to make a man whole. Please be praying that the ministry of water will lead to Gospel conversations, prayers, and the transformation that only God's grace can bring.
Third, SUNSCREEN! This is always hard to come by as it is not usually included in the normal toiletries that people give away. If you can donate LARGE bottles of sunscreen let me know! I can take the large tubes and put it into individual containers for a fraction of the price of buying a travel size units.
Finally, if you want to make a financial donation to my ministry, visit the "Giving" page on our website. I didn't do a lot of active fundraising last year and its showing in the monthly numbers, and it's time to get those gears going again! You can give here: https://www.emmausredlands.com/give
Make sure you designate "Outreach Chaplaincy" in the drop-down menu. Please prayerfully consider making your gift a recurring donation. If you would like those funds to go for specific supplies you can email me directly and I will make sure that happens.