Friday, August 8, 2008

Reaching out at Eastside Women's Shelter

Last week Missio Lux was able to shine light and offer hope at Eastside Women's Shelter. My next door neighbor, Nancy, was the point person and she wrote a wonderful email describing her experience:

"I've driven by the church in Bellevue three hundred times before and never knew this pace existed. It's a YWCA shelter housed in a church and they feed women who come there for lunch and even breakfast if they have anything available. The timing was perfect for this morning. Syd, (her daughter) and I walked in at 9:30 with fruit and juice and muffins and we were warmly welcomed as they had run out of things for breakfast. They were very happy to have the rest of the food as well."

The woman who oversees the shelter told Nancy that the women, mostly 35 to 65, come from all over the area looking in Bellevue for jobs, and they stop at the shelter for meals and assistance. This is an age group of women that have a hard time finding employment and life on the streets is tough, however, there are very few services for women in comparison to men. There are no overnight emergency stays in the Eastside for women, and only 3 organizations in Seattle that provide overnight accomodations for women. They are part of the invisible homeless that have very little resource to fall back on.

I am in that age group. I often take my comfortable home, food to eat, and meaningful work for granted. It's always a gift to be able to reach out to those that have much bigger struggles as Jesus tells us "if you offer a cup of cold water or a hot meal in my name, you are giving it to me." Nancy and our neighbors offered Jesus both last week through the Eastside Women's Shelter. I hope that they experienced a glimpse of his love through our service, and I hope that I keep perspective on my struggles through remembering those around me.

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