February 2015

By Jason Lollar

There’s nothing more inspiring and heartwarming to help you gain perspective than a group of homeless people wearing smiles. Sure, the meals and donations helped, but many of them walked through that door with that joy already written on their faces, grateful for whatever reasons they have. It makes you think.

Around 8:30 in the morning a group of myself and 15 volunteers arrived at YMEN (Young Men’s Educational Network) on 1240 S. Pulaski to meet with Juan and Tim from Lampstand Ministries. These two guys couldn’t have been cooler. The energy and work they’ve put into helping people from the community over the years is nothing short of heroic. They had some insightful words to share and gave us instructions, as this is the first time we’ve worked with them. Over the next few hours we unloaded the truck, set up the donations, prepared lunch and had a good time doing it! People started arriving between 11:00 and 1:00. In total, I’d say around 100 people showed up. We were expecting 300. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but what’s most important is that we were able to help the people who were there. Juan told us about a family whose home recently burned down. They had been relocated, and, I believe, have six children. We were able to put certain items aside for them for Juan to bring to them personally.

We gave away around 100 winter coats, tons and tons of clothes, food for the road, bottled water, backpacks, blankets, personal care packages, tampons and pads, etc. Everyone was able to take a bunch of stuff with them and no one was left behind. What’s even cooler is that we have enough donations left over for another drive. They had stuff left over at YMEN, and so much came in on Thursday and Friday that we weren’t able go through, sort and wash everything. My basement is still a mess. Needless to say, this is something we will be doing again. It was a learning experience, for sure.