Ever wonder where a homeless person goes for Christmas? I’m not trying to put a damper on your holiday festivities by bringing it up. Naturally, we all like to think that everyone has a home to go to for Christmas and all the other holidays. But the truth is, many don’t.
And there’s just something about this season that brings out the nostalgia in all of us. We like to remember those magical times when the family was all together, the food was somehow better than usual, the children’s faces were bright, and all was right in the world. However, when you are homeless, those memories are just reminders of something that may never happen again.
Every year we are inundated with requests and offers to help during the holidays. Toy drives are plentiful. Canned goods and turkeys abound. We are overjoyed to see how our community wants to make someone’s holiday season special. Especially the children. At Faith Mission and Faith Refuge, we strive to provide toys for all the children, special meals and services for everyone, and a festive spirit throughout the shelters with decorations and even Christmas Cards and stamps for our clients to send. We try to make it as “normal” as possible.
But my wish for all the men, women, and children we serve is that this will be the last Thanksgiving and Christmas any of them will spend in a shelter. Of course, they are welcome here, and yes, we will strive to make their stay as comfortable and safe as possible. But we also want it to be as short as possible.
In order for this to happen, the programs and services we provide are vital. They are every bit as important as the beds, clothing, and meals we are blessed to provide. Our case managers and program directors work tirelessly to point each individual and family in the direction of opportunities that will lead to self-sufficiency. They provide counsel, make referrals, assist with applications, pray with them, track down birth certificates, make appointments, enroll their children in school, help with medications, interpret legal documents, and pray with them some more. We do all this so they can have the shortest stay at our shelters as possible and … they can be “Home for Christmas.”
So, it may not be as fun as buying a toy for a child or a meal for a family, but your donation to Wichita Falls Faith Mission’s programs and services may lead to lasting change. Things like the victory over addiction, the restoration of a family, a job, a permanent house or apartment, and most importantly, an opportunity to hear about the love of Christ and His life-changing Gospel.
As you pray about helping others this holiday season, please remember Wichita Falls Faith Mission and our two shelters, Faith Refuge and Faith Mission. Remember the ministry and service that goes on here 365 days a year. We will keep listening to our clients and helping each one write new chapters to a new story of hope and victory. And maybe, just maybe, some of them will go home for Christmas.