by Frank Brazell
It was a chilly evening, and my wife and I were walking back to our car after a dinner date. Small droplets of rain began to fall. As we meandered along the sidewalk, I made eye-contact with a man walking the opposite direction.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you this evening, but could you please buy me something to eat?”
Seeing our apprehension, he quickly followed up: “I don’t need any money, I’m just hungry.”
The Least of These
Whether you live in North Carolina, Louisiana, Hawaii, or anywhere else in the United States, no doubt you have at some point encountered a homeless person in your community. Sometimes, we might try to block out the reality that there are people living in close proximity to us, but without a roof, without a meal, without hope. The reality is, our communities deal with homelessness, or at the very least encounter it.
As the Church, we are called commanded to love our neighbor, and that includes those among us who struggle to have the most basic of needs met. Rarely are those needs so evident as when the weather turns foul, particularly in places that see temperatures drop to dangerous levels. This time of bad weather thankfully coincides with a season in which we are encouraged to show good will to our neighbors, especially those in need.
Every August, some of the students from Grace College of Divinity’s Fayetteville, North Carolina campus will spend a day in outreach to our local homeless community. They join with a local ministry partner to provide food, and more importantly, kindness through interaction for people in our own city. This outreach always inspires students to look at their community—their sphere of influence— in new ways. Beyond that, it inspires GCD students to take ownership of how they minister to the homeless community in their own backyard. It isn’t about spreading the message of GCD, or showing how selfless our students are (and they are!); What it’s really about is being the hands and feet of Jesus to some of the least-loved members of our society.
How You Can Help
So, this Fall, the GCD Student Government Association would like for all students to partner together to make a difference in the lives of people in our community, without any expectation of a return on investment. We are collecting Winter clothing, mainly hats, socks, and gloves, to give out to our local homeless community. An easily-identified box will be placed in the first-floor lobby of the GCD Building at the Fayetteville Campus. Distance-education students can mail their contributions to:
Grace College of Divinity
C/O Frank Brazell
5117 Cliffdale Road, Building C
Fayetteville, NC 28314
The drive will take place from Tuesday, November 20th to Sunday, December 9th. We will partner with local ministries to distribute the collected items by the end of the semester.
As an added bonus, anyone who contributes items to this drive will be eligible to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card as a thank-you from the Student Government Association, that includes students from other Campuses and Distance Education, just make sure you put your name on the box or package so that we can get you into the raffle for the $25 Amazon Gift Card. The same goes for Fayetteville Campus students who leave items in the lobby— please put a note on the items you donate so we can enter your name in the raffle. Each item—hat, pair of socks or gloves, scarf, etc.— counts as one entry, so feel free to donate multiple items!
Let’s get ready to be a presence in our local community!
*Other campuses wishing to run a similar drive in their own community, please contact Frank Brazell at firstname.lastname@example.org