15 Nov Hope that starts with a meal
Remember homelessness and hunger this Thanksgiving.
This week, days before Thanksgiving, is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
I typically don’t take notice to national weeks or months, but this one in particular grabbed my attention.
Thanksgiving is a season to acknowledge many blessings, gather with family and loved ones, and enjoy elaborate meals – all stark contrasts to the isolating reality of hunger and homelessness.
Their effects are profound and have reached alarming levels, both nationally and locally. In Indiana, an estimated 14 percent of Hoosiers suffer from food insecurity – that’s 1 in 7! On a single night, an estimated 5,400 Hoosiers are homeless. And if I had to guess, the actual number is probably much higher.
Now, imagine this:
You’re a mom with young children on the brink of homelessness. You’re out of money, but Pay Day is days away. How do you feed your family? You’re forced to skip meals, water down your dwindling supply of baby formula, and eat cheap and processed food – because that’s all you can access and afford.
When poverty escalates to homelessness, the picture gets a whole lot worse. Medical and dental care are inaccessible…school is disrupted or delayed…families risk separation…children are exposed to violence…and I could go on.
This is the heartbreaking reality for the men, women, and children we serve. But that’s why Wheeler Mission exists, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in desperate need.
…hungry, cold, and frightened neighbors will pour through our doors. They bring layers of hurt, trauma, and loneliness – none of which disappear overnight. It takes time and trust before we’ve earned the right to walk alongside our guests in their darkest moments.
So what do we do until then? We welcome everyone with a nutritious meal. After all, only after physical hunger is satisfied can the deeper emotional and spiritual work begin.
A simple meal doesn’t solve every problem or remove despair. But it’s a nourishing act of kindness, rekindling hope that had been lost.
That’s why we regularly say, “Hope starts with a meal.”
This week and into Thanksgiving, please remember and pray for our hungry and homeless neighbors who will make their way to Wheeler Mission. Because of your compassion, we’ll provide food, shelter, care…and most important, the hope we have through Christ.
President/CEO, Wheeler Mission