Every Sunday, The Father's House Church heads to the Hope Center to serve our friends a nice warm meal. It's something we like to call 'Family Dinner', because everyone gathers at tables for some eating, chatting and sharing.
Now, on an ordinary Sunday, we only offer a meal, but on November 26th it was also our annual "Coat Giveaway" event!
During the year, a dedicated group of people from our team gathered up almost 15 bags of coats, sweaters, pants, socks, gloves, blankets and shoes. These items are essential for a lot of our homeless friends who need to stay warm in the winter. So we packed up our van and headed out to help our friends.
At first, this meant taking some time to set up. Diligently, yet joyfully, dividing up articles of clothing and setting all items out for those in need.
Then the give away and dinner began! We started calling people up a few at a time so that we could help each person find exactly what they need.
It was truly an honor and a blessing to be able to help our friends! These are people we know. People we reach out to every week. We care about them, and we want them to know that they matter. Sometimes we're asked why we do what we do, and the simplest answer is that in doing so we get to impact those around us by loving as Jesus loved.
In this event, 62 people were able to be blessed with winter items, and 5 were able to receive either a sleeping bag or a blow up mattress.
We want to take a moment to share some short stories from our friends with you!
Meet John (left-hand side):
John has been homeless for over 7 years. He stays on the streets and often sleeps on concrete. During this event, he was able to receive a battery operated blow up bed. When asked how it will help him, he said that it will keep him off the ground. That he will be warmer because there will be something between him and the concrete.
Then there's Troy (left-hand side):
Troy has been living on the streets for just over a year. He was able to receive a sleeping bag during this giveaway. When asked how it would help him, he said that he would be able to sleep better now. He said that when he gets cold during the night he often wakes up in the morning struggling to feel good. That it's hard to feel good when you wake up frozen. So having something like a sleeping bag will mean having the ability to be warm, to sleep better and to wake up feeling better too.
This is Jeremy (left-hand side):
Jeremy has been homeless for over 6 years, and only came to Oroville 4 months ago. He needed a sleeping bag for the winter. He said that this will help keep him warm and comfortable.
Here's Gina (left-hand side):
Gina has been on living in the homeless shelter here in Oroville with her husband (not in photo). Recently, they lost their spot at the shelter and have resorted to living on the streets. Given Gina's physical difficulties, this has been really difficult on her body. Getting a battery operated blow up mattress will now mean relief and comfort for her.
Last but not least, this is Faith (left-hand side):
Faith has been living on the streets for 15 years. She was able to receive a fold-able foam mattress in this giveaway. When I asked her how this would be helpful to her, she began to describe how she sleeps on concrete which in winter months can be very cold. She said that in the middle of the night she will often wake up with sharp pains shooting through her limbs from being absolutely frozen. It's hard on her nerves, so receiving this mattress with get her off the concrete. She said "Getting this is huge!"
Thank you so much to everyone who came together to make this event happen!