My workplace is a Families Moving Forward site twice each year. For a week, University Lutheran Church of Hope volunteers cook breakfast and dinner, and serve as evening and overnight hosts for several families, part of the organization's efforts to provide temporary emergency shelter. A new family joined the ranks tonight, a young mom and her three very young children. The kids' eyes lit up with disbelief that they each got their own bed for the night. Such pleasure, over an inflatable mattress on the floor.
Of course I'm impressed with the compassion and hard work so many in this congregation offer to make this happen. I'm one of two overnight hosts tonight, and my job is pretty easy: play with an occasional toddler who comes wandering down the hall to my office, toothbrush in hand (this has happened twice in the last fifteen minutes); try to find a radio for a bored teenager to use; blog. I have a mattress set up in my office, and will have a comfortable night, the same comfortable night our guests will have. But tomorrow I'll leave here and stop at a friend's for coffee, go home and go for a run, take a shower, enjoy the day. These folks will get on an early bus and spend the day wading through the intricacies of shelters and social service agencies, small children in tow. They'll come back here tomorrow night, to their spartan, temporary home. They'll do that until Sunday, and then they don't know where they'll be next week. I do; click here if you want to help these families know where home is, next week and every week.