Where does the time go? The days are getting short. As I write to you from our Coldest Nights emergency shelter, it seems the cold weather is already settling in fast.
I was blessed to spend time with family last weekend and celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday! Having four generations together is a rare occasion and made me a bit nostalgic. Dad was born in 1941, just weeks before Pearl Harbor and a long, difficult season for our nation and the world. It was a different time. Yet, in some ways, a similar time. The pandemic and all the hardships that accompanied it have left us with loss and uncertainty. Yet, I’m reminded of so much for which to be thankful.
The song White Christmas, which debuted on Christmas Day just a month after dad was born, has helped recall many blessings. As Irvin Berlin wrote of good times remembered, I’m reminded that, much like the song, blessings endure. Each year, the holiday season is a reminder of God’s great love for each of us and our opportunities to share that blessing with a world in such need. And, I’m thankful.
I’m thankful for the way you, and other neighbors just like you, have partnered with The Journey Home to touch the lives of those that have been struggling among us. Together, we do much more than help rehouse people and provide for their basic needs. We provide hope that says to another, “You matter, and we want to see you experience a full and abundant life.” I’m humbled to think of the thousands of lives we’ve served together over the last 15 years. Today, , thousands journey towards new lives and new directions because each of us make it a priority to get involved, give of ourselves and our resources, to stand in the breach for someone else. And, I’m thankful.
The Journey Home serves an important role within our homeless community fulfilling needs that people would not have access to otherwise. And, I’m thankful that we do. This past year, The Journey Home:
- Rehoused more than 400 people from homelessness into permanent housing.
- Provided more than 7,000 nights of emergency shelter through the Coldest Nights Program.
- Opened a Housing Service Center in Smyrna to serve the northern part of our county.
- Opened a Wellness Clinic in our Outreach Center to provide basic medical care and connections to long-term health solutions.
- Added mental health services and referrals to support long-term stability.
You are making a real difference in the lives of real people through your support of The Journey Home. A few cases from the last month alone include: a mother with a severely disabled child whose partner passed away from COVID; a young professional to whom cancer dealt a devastating blow; senior adults who are alone; working parents and their young children with income to maintain housing but not enough to save for the extra costs to move into housing; and a family that is behind on their rent and trying to catch up on payments. Sadly, need knows no holiday. Even among our shelter guests at Coldest Nights tonight, we have three senior adults and a mom with three children fleeing domestic violence that would be unsheltered, on the street, otherwise. Instead, they’re safe and being connected with resources to pursue solutions. And, I’m thankful we are able to support our vulnerable residents.
There is much more to do, but together we’ve accomplished so much over the years. It’s said that the true measure of the character of a community can be seen in the way it treats the least of its members. Your investment will allow us to care for those who have nowhere to turn. Our community and its future are bright because of your support in The Journey Home. And, I’m thankful for you.
Your partnership will make 2022 a less challenging year enabling The Journey Home to continue to push forward with new initiatives to provide solutions to homelessness. With your help we will continue to help families and individuals stabilize their crises, then execute plans that include long-term housing solutions, and coaching that empowers those families to become fully participating members in our community once again, or for the first time. I’m thankful to live in a community that cares – and for the leadership that you’ve allowed The Journey Home to provide.
Like the classic Christmas song, the good we do will endure for generations and provide a foundation for many to come. As you reflect on your many blessings this season, I hope that you will continue to invest in The Journey Home allowing us to help those who need us the most. As you do, I would like to make a personal invitation to visit with you and share our strategies going forward. There is much we can do together!
I pray that you experience God’s love through the gift of the Christ child in a new and joyous way this Christmas season and that it stirs your heart to share that love as never before.
May Your Days be Merry and Bright! And, Let’s Make Their Days Merry and Bright as well.
From all of us, Merry Christmas!