It was a warm summer morning in downtown Lawrence. I had just dropped my older son at the Art Center and had 30 minutes to spare before dropping off the other. As we pulled into a parking space on Massachusetts Street, headed for a treat at Miltons Coffee Shop, I noticed a stroller with two children pulling up in front of our car. The two adults stood by the stroller in the shade. They hugged and the man walked away. I looked closer to see what the woman was holding in her hand and I realized it was a cardboard sign.
“Oh no,” I thought to myself, “please don’t let this be!”
But it was. This family was homeless. The sign said Dad had lost his job and they had lost their home. They were asking for money to feed their children. I stopped and talked to Mom, asking about the resources they had considered. They had come from Olathe to stay in the Lawrence shelter.
“Is the shelter okay for your children?” I asked with concern.
“There are others who watch out for them,” she said.
After our conversation and a few suggested resources I gave her the money I had in my purse. I never carry cash but we had just celebrated our anniversary and received some money as a gift. I was sure they needed it more than we did.
As I walked away the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat grew bigger. Why have I been blessed with so much when others seem to have so little? Tears poured out as I drove toward Target, praying to God to help me find a way to help people like this family – people who have lost their home and have no where to go.
A few months later a friend at church approached me about starting Family Promise at our church. I knew then that God had answered my prayer. Here, in front of me, was yet another blessing; a way I can help children and their families who do not have a home.
That was over five years ago. Since getting involved with Family Promise I have experienced God’s love in action over and over again. I had heard what an incredible experience it is for the volunteers and for me this has been especially true. Serving dinner, spending time with guests, spending the night, buying supplies, helping with homework, playing games, organizing, fundraising and serving on the board have all brought me so much joy. Being involved is an amazing way to live out my faith!