Last year, when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I decided that I wanted to help the homeless. My decision came when I woke up one chilly morning.
As I started to run down my list of what to be grateful for, I pulled the covers up over my head; then, it hit me: “I am grateful for my blanket.” I knew there were many who were freezing in that moment, and how lucky I was to not be. That’s what I want for Christmas! I want to make others a little warmer!
Later that day, I mentioned my choice on the phone to my sister-in-law. It was only a minute since we hung up the phone, when she called back to say she just saw a sale on blankets 2/$5 at Rural King. I grabbed my Christmas cash and off we went to buy forty blankets to give to a local shelter. I believe the law of attraction brought it all together for me.
This year, I wanted to do a little more for them, and since there is power in numbers, I set out to ask for help. I created a flyer, Coats, Cans & Blankets, and dropped off a copy to each neighbor, sent some emails, and posted my request on social media.
What I received in return was a true blessing. There were nine angels who came to assist in my giving. People gave large bags of warm blankets, coats, sweatshirts, jackets, and food. On pickup day, my car was fully loaded with awesome gifts, and I was ready to go.
For our donation, I chose New Life Baptist Mission in Hamilton, Ohio…and after hearing their story, I am glad I did. I met Brandon and Becky Root, who help run the church’s mission. They share the responsibilities with many other volunteers…including their daughter and son-in-law. In fact, as a young girl, Becky remembers watching as the first meal was served to someone who came into the church. After that day, meals began to pour out to feed those who were hungry and in need. They knew this mission needed to exist, and the church had a bigger purpose than they ever expected. They watched as the mission continued to grow.
Soon after the meals began, the Clothes Closet was created. The store opened and ran, free of any charge, so those who also need blankets, clothes, or a warm coat could be helped.
After some time and wear to the old church (the floor was literally giving way), they knew they had to find a way to rebuild so they could continue their mission…as volunteers.
This is when God blessed them with Larry and Linda Gaines who run the mission. Changes needed to the church required more than donations allowed, and because Larry and Linda’s dedication and generosity, they could rebuild!
Brandon gave me a tour of the church, and I have to say, for the limited amount of volunteers they have, they have a nice little setup; serving anywhere from 150-250 meals a day (six days a week), providing groceries for almost $10,000, and clothing about $5,000. They provide gifts and baskets to children during the holidays, have new ministries in place (such as testing, meetings, and warm places to share), and still, there is a lot to be done…which is why I’m sharing this story.
The volunteers are what keep this ship afloat; without them, it’s over. The same goes for the forty-seven local businesses who donate weekly food donations, and the sixty-nine local churches who support with their time, donations, and funding.
People are homeless; it’s a fact. We see people on the side of the road, and because so many have lied to us about needing help, we begin to judge as a whole, rather than the few who take advantage. Simply put, we can’t judge someone for being homeless. Why??? God wouldn’t want us to; not to mention, we don’t know their story…regardless of appearance. Brandon and Becky say they speak to everyone, and treat everyone, without judgment; regardless of their addictions, habits, or luck.
What is it that we can do for each other? Maybe it’s an item, our time, or simply a hug. Figure it out and go do it. You’ll be happy to have helped someone who is on your radar. Think about what would make you feel good and reach for that purpose.
I loved connecting with people on this venture. Everyone was so giving… and grateful for being able to give! The folks at the church were so kind and I believe our donation will go to good use. I try to see what God wants me to do, stick my nose in various service projects to see what feels right, and this one felt good. I love being able to share in His purpose. Plus, it helps me understand the world just a little bit better. I know we are all here to be used for His purpose; not ours.
Thanks to Debbie Carroll, Jamie Lewis, Janis Oxendine, Margie Fantelli, along with five other families on my little street, for offering your blessings to those who need a helping hand. I hope we can all rest a little easier knowing we are doing a bit of God’s work. For every gift that was given, a blessing will surround you in some other way. I genuinely believe that, and I hope you do, too.
Founded on 1967
NLBM exists to bring honor and glory to God, by following Jesus’ command in Matt. 25, to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all people.415
Henry Street, 45011 Hamilton, Ohio