It’s curious to me the things that different people think about the homeless, specifically what they need. One thing I’ve noticed as my wife, Jodi, and I spend more time in person with COTS is that the guys and gals that serve on a regular basis carry around back packs. They’re full of various things, socks, gloves, hygene items, etc. Things that a homeless person may need. Let me say first that the mission of Church on the Street is not to provide socks for the homeless. Socks and other items only provide for an immediate need and also help to break the ice and build trust. That way Pastor Andy and his team can build a relationship that will hopefully allow him and others to help a person off of the street and on to a better life. The things that we give away meet an immediate pressing need and are simply tools to help get to the bigger issues.
So, since I’m spending more time in person with Andy and crew, I decided I needed a back pack as well. ( After all, I wanted to at least look like I fit in. :))
So Jodi and I headed out today to buy some items to fill the pack. Things like those I mentioned above that not only help but can start a relationship. So as we’re going through the store picking out stuff to fill my new man bag I reverted to items that I used to carry to the field while I was in the Army. Wet wipes, tooth brush kits, socks, etc.
Jodi on the other hand was looking in different directions. She would want items like shampoos, shower items, etc. Neither one of us had the right or wrong things. Just things that came from two different views and experiences.
I guess in the end it doesn’t matter much whether we give away wet wipes or high quality shampoo. The point is that we’re giving items that will help us create a relationship that can lead to the things that really matter and can really help.