Welcome back to my Advocating for the Vulnerable series. This time, let's talk about caring for the poor. This is a huge topic. I'm only going to give you a tiny little sliver from my own recent and near future experience in collecting items to give to the disadvantaged. (You can read about past ministry projects here.) A little here, a little there adds up. We love to partner with other people and organizations who have great ideas. Here are three: one with a global outreach to children, one to migrant worker families, and another to the downtown homeless.
Operation Christmas Child
|This semi at Northland is already full!|
OK, that's pretty global. They're estimating that this year will mark 100,000,000 gift boxes since 1993! Please go check out the web site, Operation Christmas Child. It's not too late to donate. If you don't have time to fill a box yourself, you or your child can still have the fun of picking out the gifts online with their Build-a-Box program.
I don't know a lot about this, but I do know that my friend Allura Lightfoot at Metro Life Church has been taking a group out to the DeNeef Village migrant trailer camp in Apopka twice a month to serve the families there. They are gathering Christmas gifts for the children, as well as gift baskets for the moms.
I asked the students in my home school co-op English class to bring in items for the mom's gift baskets, and we've been able to fill two so far. To get them in the spirit, I brought in the picture book Lights on the River by Jane Resh Thomas, which is about the plight of impoverished migrant workers. It's one of my favorite books, and I warned them that I would cry when I read it. I think it made quite an impression on them.
I also asked Allura about putting together first aid bags for the families with bandages, individually packaged antibacterial wipes and other items. She said that any family with kids would appreciate that! I'm scheming how to pull that off. If you want to help out with that -- especially with supplies or money -- let me know.
I'll try to write more about migrant workers in the future. I'd even like to go visit DeNeef. I'll bet you have migrant communities in your area, too. Are any churches or organizations reaching out to them?
Homeless in Downtown Orlando
There are many fine organizations working with the homeless in Orlando and I applaud what they are doing. But individual people can make a difference, too. My daughter Julia Corbett has a heart for ministering to the homeless and those in crisis pregnancies. (Allura has been a wonderful mentor!) Two years ago, Julia organized a clothing and blanket drive. I was amazed at how much stuff showed up at Metro Life Church. She also packaged up snack bags and put a Gospel of John in each one. Her team loaded it all up, took it downtown, and started handing them out. They were able to bless about 50 people. I just found out that she and her husband are going to do it again in early January. I think I might try to do some first aid bags for this project, too. I don't know all of the details yet, but if you're interested, let me know!
In the meantime, you can visit these web sites to learn about helping the homeless in Orlando.
- Coalition for the Homeless
- Orlando Homeless Shelters and Services for the Needy
- Article about The Anthony House shelter in Apopka
I hope this inspires you to do something, big or small, with your family to bless the needy in your community and around the globe.
You may also wish to read these posts: