Toiletry Donations Show Action that Faith Communities Can Take to Help During the Homeless Sabbath
Earlier this month, Holy Cross Lutheran Church‘s youth group collected toiletries and other essentials for women experiencing homelessness in the Union County region. Holy Cross Lutheran Church is in Springfield, NJ.
The group had a meeting one evening focused on raising members’ awareness about homelessness. At the meeting, youth group members assembled “blessing bags.” The “blessing bags” included purses donated by members of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
The Church will bring the bags to the second annual Union County Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil that will take place on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church in Cranford.
“The Union County Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil provides an opportunity to share and distribute the bags with local housing and service providers who will be attending the vigil,” said Pastor J. David Knecht DMin, the Lead Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. “The ‘blessing bags’ are just one example of the actions that we as members of faith communities can take to help our homeless brothers and sisters.”
Rachelle Moorman, a mother of one of the youth group members, encouraged the youth group members to hold the toiletry drive and assemble the “blessing bags.” Last year, when Rachelle visited a church in Newark to help provide a Thanksgiving Dinner, she saw the need for toiletries and other essentials.
In speaking with the people that she met at the meal, she learned that the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cannot be used to pay for toiletries. She had the idea to do something to fill this gap for homeless women. Holy Cross Lutheran Church has held similar drives.
Organizers of the Homeless Sabbath weekend include:
- Community Access Unlimited,
- Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless,
- Family Promise Union County,
- Gateway Family YMCA,
- Iris House,
- Monarch Housing Associates, and the
- Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council.
The Homeless Sabbath is held on behalf of all people who are homeless in Union County and offers the opportunity for a multi-faith “call to action.”
On the night of January 24, 2017, 475 people, including 55 people without shelter, experienced homelessness in Union County, according to NJ Counts, the Point-In- Time Count. On this weekend, we will collectively pray for all homeless people and for the commitment to end homelessness in our community.
Homeless Sabbath Weekend will specifically align with “Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil” on Thursday, December 21, 2017 hosted by First Presbyterian Church, 11 Springfield Ave. in Cranford at 7:00 p.m.