NVDAILY.COM | Guest Columns
Posted February 28, 2014 | Leave a comment
George Bowers Sr.: Help for the homeless
By George Bowers Sr.
Hebrews 13:2 tells us to offer hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without even knowing it. I wonder how many angels I have turned away over the years. Let me share a program that provides a good structure to welcome angels as well as fellow humans.
Over the last several months, there has been much discussion about homelessness in our area. Thankfully, some folks provided lodging for the men of tent city and thankfully those offers were finally accepted. Even though this problem has been resolved temporarily, it still does not solve the ongoing issue of homelessness in our community.
We are so blessed by the work of the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter, which has been operating in our county for many years. They have provided housing to many families. The tireless efforts of the staff and volunteers do much to provide immediate and long-term assistance to many. Their work is often unseen and unnoticed, but is vital to our community and their recent award by the Shenandoah County Chamber is well deserved.
Family Promise needs 13 congregations to agree to host up to five families in their church buildings one week each quarter. Families arrive each evening, eat supper, pack lunches for the next day and spend the night. After breakfast, they are transported to a day center from which children are picked up for school and parents are taken to work. At the end of each week, the cots are moved to another congregation and the hosting repeats.
Such a program not only benefits the families but also the churches that host them. This provides many hands-on ministry opportunities for all ages. Some can prepare meals while others babysit, clean or play games. Since most of the food and materials are donated, the cost to each congregation is negligible. Showers and laundry are all handled at the day center so most churches would incur minimal preparatory expense.
At present, more host congregations are needed in Shenandoah County as is a day center. In addition, a 15 passenger van is needed to transport families to and from churches, jobs, appointments, etc. If readers know of possibilities for any of these, please call 540-459-3661.
The next informational and organizational meeting for Family Promise will be held at the Strasburg Presbyterian Church on Holliday Street at 6:30 p.m. March 4. All are welcome to attend, ask questions, and volunteer for committees.
Thanks to all who are working to serve the homeless and less fortunate and may God continue to bless and guide us as we seek to provide hospitality to both incognito angels as well as fellow humans. Blessings, George
Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137