Tag Archives: homeless

A priceless gift

Mark 12:41-44New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Widow’s Offering
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

 

USA TODAY

Michelle Boudin, WCNC-TV, Charlotte 6:49 a.m. EDT April 30, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Someone attending a church service in Charlotte Sunday left behind an offering that has some recalling the story of Jesus and the widow’s offering.

The gift was a handful of change — 18 cents — with a simple note on the offering envelope:

“Please don’t be mad I don’t have much. I’m homeless. God bless.”

 

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The note reminded some of the story in the gospel of Luke. Jesus sees rich people making a show of their wealth with their donations to the temple, while a poor widow gives all she has, two coins. Jesus questions which person has really given more.

“I think this represents a sacrificial gift,” said the Rev. Patrick Hamrick of First United Methodist Church.

“It took some bravery, I think, to write that (note),” he said. “And for us, we acknowledge that individual gave out of his poverty proportionally a big deal.”

First United is nestled in uptown Charlotte, between a homeless shelter and the big banks the city has become known for.

“You’re literally right in between two very different worlds,” said Hamrick. “We are, and we see that. Sunday mornings we welcome a big crowd of people to come have breakfast with us. Some of them are coming from shelters.” The church’s “Muffin Ministry” may feed 150 on a given Sunday morning.

So it wasn’t unusual to have homeless people in the pews last Sunday, any one of whom might have made the offering.

Hamrick said the church has no plans to search out the donor, but will instead “honor the dignity of the individual who made this gift.”

Hamrick said he thinks if the person would come forward, “it would be amazing, because I have a feeling, there’s been enough groundswell of support that this person could probably get some additional assistance.”

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Shelter from the Storm

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The Homeless Guy & the Three Musicians

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Good on you, young man! (article in Manchester Evening News)

 

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Matt RatcliffeTommie Rose handing out the last of his stock
The schoolboy entrepreneur who shot to fame after making £14,000 selling sweets at school has given away the last of his stock to Manchester’s homeless.

The 15-year-old schoolboy rose to fame after the M.E.N. revealed his ‘black market’ school tuck shop raked in thousands of pounds to pay his University fees.

Now, with the looming threat of suspension from school, Tommie has decided to close the playground business and give away the rest of his sweet-toothed goods to the city’s rough sleepers.

He dished out his stock this morning as an ‘early Christmas present’ to the homeless.
Tommie said: “It was great to put a huge smile on their faces. It’s getting into winter and getting really cold so we decided to give them something ahead of Christmas. I looked around the house and realised we had so much food in, so I thought I should give it away.image

“They were really thankful. We gave them multi-packs so they had enough to last them through the night. One of them said to me ‘I’ll sleep well tonight, thanks Tommie’.”

Dad Gary, 33, an office worker, added: “Realistically, with the threat of suspension from the school we decided there was no way Tommie could go on selling. He said ‘it’s coming up to winter and we’ve got so many homeless people in the city, why don’t we give it all away and give them an early Christmas present’?”

The schoolboy entrepreneur who shot to fame after making £14,000 selling sweets at school has given away the last of his stock to Manchester’s homeless.

The 15-year-old schoolboy rose to fame after the M.E.N. revealed his ‘black market’ school tuck shop raked in thousands of pounds to pay his University fees.

Now, with the looming threat of suspension from school, Tommie has decided to close the playground business and give away the rest of his sweet-toothed goods to the city’s rough sleepers.

He dished out his stock this morning as an ‘early Christmas present’ to the homeless.
Tommie said: “It was great to put a huge smile on their faces. It’s getting into winter and getting really cold so we decided to give them something ahead of Christmas. I looked around the house and realised we had so much food in, so I thought I should give it away.

“They were really thankful. We gave them multi-packs so they had enough to last them through the night. One of them said to me ‘I’ll sleep well tonight, thanks Tommie’.”

Dad Gary, 33, an office worker, added: “Realistically, with the threat of suspension from the school we decided there was no way Tommie could go on selling. He said ‘it’s coming up to winter and we’ve got so many homeless people in the city, why don’t we give it all away and give them an early Christmas present’?”

Tommie, who plans to go to University with the money earned from his sweet empire, says he is now meeting his headmaster to deliver a business plan for a healthy tuck shop.

The young businessman, who is trying to fund his university tuition fees, was inspired by TV shows Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice.

Lord Alan Sugar has personally endorsed his business acumen – and gurus Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden took to Twitter to show their support for the teenager after we told his story.

Meanwhile Tommie is considering a new business venture – involving T-shirts – and has attended a meeting ahead of a prospective job offer.

Simon Swan has offered him an internship at his Manchester-based recruitment firm Hiring-Hub, which connects job-hunters with recruitment agencies via the web.

Tommie said: “I have had a few other job offers since the story broke, including an offer to sell fragrances. I just love the world of business.”

Tommie, who plans to go to University with the money earned from his sweet empire, says he is now meeting his headmaster to deliver a business plan for a healthy tuck shop.
The young businessman, who is trying to fund his university tuition fees, was inspired by TV shows Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice.

Lord Alan Sugar has personally endorsed his business acumen – and gurus Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden took to Twitter to show their support for the teenager after we told his story.

Meanwhile Tommie is considering a new business venture – involving T-shirts – and has attended a meeting ahead of a prospective job offer.

Simon Swan has offered him an internship at his Manchester-based recruitment firm Hiring-Hub, which connects job-hunters with recruitment agencies via the web.

Tommie said: “I have had a few other job offers since the story broke, including an offer to sell fragrances. I just love the world of business.”

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Detroit Project

 

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Disgrace

Disgrace

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June 14, 2014 · 20:20

Jesus the Homeless. (via NPR)

Jesus the Homeless

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban’s Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

John Burnett/NPR
A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.

Some neighbors felt it was an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.

The bronze statue was purchased for $22,000 as a memorial for a parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who had loved public art. The rector of this liberal, inclusive church is Rev. David Buck, a 65-year-old Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who seems not at all averse to the controversy, the double-takes and the discussion the statue has provoked.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” he says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the passage in the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Moreover, Buck says, it’s a good Bible lesson for those used to seeing Jesus depicted in traditional religious art as the Christ of glory, enthroned in finery.

“We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”

This lakeside college town north of Charlotte has the first Jesus the Homeless statue on display in the United States. Catholic Charities of Chicago plans to install its statue when the weather warms up. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is said to be interested in one, too.

The creator is a Canadian sculptor and devout Catholic named Timothy Schmalz. From his studio in Ontario, Schmalz says he understands that his Jesus the Homeless is provocative.

“That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do,” he says. “It’s meant to challenge people.”

He says he offered the first casts to St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Both declined.

A spokesman at St. Michael’s says appreciation of the statue “was not unanimous,” and the church was being restored so a new work of art was out of the question. That statue found a home in front of the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto.

A spokesperson at St. Patrick’s in New York says they liked the homeless Jesus, but their cathedral is also being renovated and they had to turn it down.

The most high-profile installation of the bronze Jesus on a park bench will be on the Via della Conziliazione, the avenue leading to St. Peter’s Basilica — if the City of Rome approves it. Schmalz traveled to the Vatican last November to present a miniature to the pope himself.

“He walked over to the sculpture, and it was just chilling because he touched the knee of the Jesus the Homeless sculpture, and closed his eyes and prayed,” Schmalz says. “It was like, that’s what he’s doing throughout the whole world: Pope Francis is reaching out to the marginalized.”

Back at St. Alban’s in Davidson, the rector reports that the Jesus the Homeless statue has earned more followers than detractors. It is now common, he says, to see people come, sit on the bench, rest their hand on the bronze feet and pray.

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April 14, 2014 · 09:44

Matthew 25: 35-40 (unless you’ve got a permit)

“Pastor Blocked From Feeding The Homeless Because He Doesn’t Have A $500 Permit” Share: Share on email

Pastor Rick Wood hands out food to the homeless in Birmingham
CREDIT: ABC 33/40
A pastor determined to live out the Bible’s dictate that we feed the poor was shut down by local police because he didn’t have a permit to serve food.
Twice a month, Rick Wood, a pastor at The Lord’s House of Prayer in Oneonta, Alabama, gets in his truck and drives around Birmingham with more than a hundred hot dogs and bottles of water, handing them out to the homeless. Wood has been serving those in need for the past six years because he wants to put Matthew 25:35-40 — “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,” a scripture verse he has plastered on the side of his truck — into action.
But last month, Wood was stopped from handing out food by local police because he was in violation of a new city ordinance, passed in December, that regulates food trucks. The new regulation requires food trucks to get a permit, which can cost as much as $500. Though the ordinance is specifically targeted at retail food vendors, rather than charities, the city nevertheless used it to block Wood.
He was livid. “That makes me so mad,” Wood said in an interview with ABC 33/40 News. “These people are hungry. They’re starving. They need help from people. They can’t afford to buy something from a food truck.”
The pastor accused Birmingham of wanting “to chase them out of the city.”
ABC 33/40 News’ video has more: http://youtu.be/HTgnW0WbbFk

Though the homeless population has been declining in Birmingham, significant need remains. A 2013 survey found 1,469 homeless people in the Birmingham area, a figure that has declined 36 percent in the past five years but still accounts for nearly half of all homeless people in Alabama. One-third of Birmingham’s homeless, 509 people, had no shelter at all when the 2013 count was conducted.
Birmingham is not the only city to shut down groups that hand out meals to the homeless. From St. Louis to Raleigh to Philadelphia to Orlando, city governments have implemented new restrictions on charity groups that feed the homeless. Los Angeles is considering a similar measure.
Back in Birmingham, Wood has defiantly vowed to keep serving food to the homeless. “The homeless can’t help the position they’re in,” he said. “They need help.”

from “Think Progress”

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April 14, 2014 · 09:33

Act of Kindness

Cop gives homeless man sweatshirt off his back

New York Post

By William Farrington, Kirstan Conley and Laura Italiano
December 13, 2013 | 4:02pm

An NYPD officer literally gives a cold homeless man the sweatshirt off his back near the UN in New York.

 

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A warmhearted NYPD officer on patrol near the UN gave a shivering homeless man the sweatshirt off his back Friday.
Carlos Ramos, who turns 29 on Saturday and works anti-crime and counterterrorism for the Transit Bureau, removed his navy blue Champion sweatshirt from under his coat and uniform and handed it to Robert William at around 9 a.m.
The gift comes a year NYPD Officer Larry De¬Primo bought a pair of $100 Skechers boots for a shoeless homeless man on a frigid night in Times Square.
“He gave it to me. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ ” William told The Post moments later — still sitting on the sidewalk outside the Robert Moses Park dog run near East 42nd Street and the FDR Drive.
“I felt good about having it,” said the man, who also uses the name Johnny Davis.
When Ramos found him, William was sitting barefoot on the sidewalk because his boots somehow had gotten soaking wet in the 28-degree morning.
Coatless — and wearing only a white thermal undershirt — William had taken off his white Oxford shirt and was trying to figure out how to rip it in half so he could wrap up both his cold feet.
“No, it’s OK — I’ve got several of them,” Ramos said to his partner before stripping to his T-shirt and handing over the sweatshirt.
William said he was very thankful for the gift.
“I can’t remember,” he said when asked how long he has been homeless.
William said he had lived uptown at West 163rd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue until a fight with a roommate sent him into the streets. His last job was working for a Denver meat-packing company.
As for Ramos, he and his partner took off in an NYPD van, both declining to comment.
Ramos joined the NYPD in 2007 after volunteering as a NYPD cadet and auxiliary officer, said Deputy Chief Kim Royster.

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Leaving The Vatican At Night

Is Pope Francis Leaving Vatican At Night To Minister To Homeless?  A recent interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the “Almoner of His Holiness,” raised speculation that the Pope joins him on his nightly trips into Rome to give alms to the poor, and it turns out that the rumors are probably true.

A knowledgable source in Rome told The Huffington Post that “Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women.”

Krajewski earlier said, “When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening’, there’s the constant risk that he will come with me,” and he merely smiled and ducked the question when reporters asked him point-blank whether the Pope accompanied him into the city.

He’s not the only Pope known for nocturnal wanderings. There are stories of Pope John XIII sneaking out to enjoy the beauty of Rome in the evenings, and reports tell of Pope Pius XII dressing as a Franciscan during WWII to help smuggle Rome’s Jewish population to safety. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI popped out unannounced to visit an art exhibit.

When Pope Francis was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he was known to sneak out at night to break bread with the homeless, sitting with them on the street and eating with them to show that they were loved.  And we love him for doing it now.

Dec 02, 2013

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