By Emily M.
There are several ways to help the homeless in Fort Collins and closer to home.
It's not rocket science. God is the only one who can truly resolve the situation of the homeless. He cares deeply for the plight of the poor, the downtrodden. God wants us to have compassion on the homeless. He wants us to feel their hurt in our hearts.
God answers prayers every day. Pray for your compassion to drive you to action, and pray for the same for others in your family, your church, your school. We saw prayers like this answered throughout our short term missions trip. There was no problem too small for Him to resolve. So pray boldly for change in this world. Pray boldly for what the woman in the park in Fort Collins prayed for – “let everyone find a place.”
The missionaries at Soaring Wings Ministries, whom we served with this week, could use prayers for their health, their finances (they raise their own support) and for a horse therapy missionary to come on staff with them.
Prayer works. The only way real change will happen is if God is active in the solution. The best part of this? It costs you nothing but could mean everything.
The Blessing Bag is such a simple concept. Step one: Fill up a gallon bag with items needed for a homeless person to feel like a clean, fed human being every day. Step two: Give bag to homeless person. BOOM! You have helped not only meet daily needs but give hope to a person in need of hope.
Through the gift of a Blessing Bag you are at once acknowledging that the homeless person exists (an unfortunately rare thing by the accounts of many homeless people) and meeting some immediate needs of theirs. Ed and Anita and Meredith have been told by recipients of Blessing Bags that they feel cared about at a deep level because of the socks and the handwritten notes that accompany each bag. This is exactly what Jesus did – He cared for the poor and broken among us and met their needs, without judgment or "strings attached."
Host a Blessing Bag assembly party at your church or school - and see if you can raise the funds cooperatively to pay for all the items in the bag. Keep one in your car. Give it out to any panhandlers or homeless people you meet. You will give hope to the homeless.
If you can't make it, buy it! Soaring Wings Ministries is set up with an Amazon Wish List so you can buy items they need to assemble Blessing Bags for the homeless in Fort Collins. Ed, Anita, and Meredith give away Blessing Bags at a rate of four to five a week, and that rate goes up in the winter when they host bimonthly "donuts with friends" breakfasts in the park in Fort Collins where the homeless stay. If you buy these items they will get used to bless a homeless person.
Instead of just using Amazon.com, type in Smile.Amazon.com then enter "Soaring Wings Ministries" when it asks to search for a charity. A portion of most of what you buy on Amazon will be donated back to Soaring Wings, and they use the funds from Amazon Smile to purchase Christmas stockings as a holiday Blessing Bag.
Soaring Wings gives away hundreds of hats and scarves to the homeless each winter. You could knit hats and scarves of any size, shape, or color and send them to Colorado!
Soaring Wings could also use blankets sewn like the ones the "inside" crew made this week. These blankets are simple - sized for a twin bed or a baby's crib, they are just two pieces of fabric sewn together. No quilting, batting, or otherwise fancy sewing involved. The child who receives this blanket will be able to use it while they stay in the addition to Soaring Wings then take it with them to their future home.
Help the people in need who live closest to you. We did this in New Hampshire as part of our preparation for our short term mission trip to Colorado. The CO:Mission team partnered with Rise Again Outreach to spend a Saturday morning in their food pantry. This was a fantastic tie-in with the mission of Soaring Wings Ministries. Rise Again believes in meeting people where they are, just like Jesus did.
You can find a local mission through local churches, a Google search, word of mouth, and perhaps a search on greatnonprofits.org. Volunteering your time locally will connect you to your community in a way that will be both heart-breaking and inspiring, so be ready!