What I saw on Saturday truly broke my heart. While I knew there were at least 20 people down on Aramingo, what I didn't know and wasn't prepared to see was the 40+ people living inside an old, abandoned warehouse that I wouldn't even want an animal to live inside. Yes, there is an overwhelming need for people to help the homeless on Aramingo.
With what is at least 50 people living on Aramingo Ave, the need is great. The main problem here is that outreaches simply aren't located there nor are many trying to get down there to help this area of our city. While I hear about two different people who take things down there occasionally, I don't hear of anyone with an organized effort attempting to serve this area. For a homeless person to get help in Center City (where most of the help is located) is a 2-hour walk. This weather, coupled with their basic daily needs, makes it impossible for them to walk this on any given day.
With Cherished Angels I've been slowly trying to build up an organized effort, but I need your help.
What I've done so far...
This weekend blankets, scarves, jackets, and soap went out. Thanks to those who donated this month, it was greatly appreciated!
Special thanks to One Love South Jersey we were able to leave two big bags of coats at the warehouse for those in need!
What I'm in the midst of doing...
I'm helping with 2 new ministries in the area. (More info to come as we get them rolling.)
Shower to the People will be bringing shower trucks for the homeless to the area to help restore some of their dignity.
Miracle Messages is an organization that allows the homeless to send out messages to their families. It's our hope that through these messages some of them will be able to reunite with their families and find their way off the street.
I'll also be reaching out to churches in the area to ask for help. Businesses are also invited and encouraged to help!
What we need for February 25 (our next outreach)...
People were asking for gloves.
Socks are ALWAYS needed.
Yarn (for making scarves and washcloths)
Grocery shopping bags. (I know lots of people have an excess of these, this is a small donation but can really help us in terms of organization and them so they have another bag to use.)
Snacks are greatly appreciated! Oftentimes I'll go down without food and be asked for it. Anything healthy (e.g. no candy or nuts) and nonperishable, along with water is greatly appreciated.
What we're doing February 25...
This time I'll be making scarves, soap, and washcloths. I'll also be handing out "notes of encouragement" since it's the month of February (think Valentine's day ;). I'm not sure what time we're going out yet, but it will definitely be that day. If you're interested in volunteering or donating, please let me know. I'm currently working on creating a better place for doing this ministry, somewhere the homeless can come on this day to pick up what they need. More info to follow...
Please understand that many of our neighbors are afraid to enter the shelters. One gentleman told me he's still got a bullet wound from the last time he was in a shelter and feels safer on the streets. These are people too, people we can unite together to help. Never feel that you're unable to give enough. Truly, every bit (no matter how small) makes a big impact.