Hope for New York & Don’t Walk By: Empowering VolunteersMarch 2012
Last month hundreds of Don’t Walk By volunteers divided into teams and canvassed the city on a search for the homeless, offering the people they encountered care kits and an invitation to return to a nearby church for food and medical assistance. Don't Walk By is an annual collaboration of faith-based organizations that are committed to serving the homeless, and a number of Hope for New York’s affiliates (The Bowery Mission, NYC Relief, NYC Rescue Mission) were involved in the outreach. Hope for New York has supported this movement by recruiting volunteers and providing financial support for the past four years.
At each of the four outreaches—Harlem, West Side, Downtown, and East Side—Don’t Walk By volunteers engaged the homeless. They sat with their homeless brothers and sisters, learned their names, heard their stories, and prayed with them. They met immediate physical needs and provided connections to resources and rehabilitation programs that provide alternatives to living on the street. One Don’t Walk By volunteer shared this story from the outreach in Harlem:
At the end of the night, the last street team came in with a man named Darren. Since we were all wrapping up to go home, we didn't have much time to chat so I cut to the chase—I asked him if he wanted to go somewhere for the night. He quickly told me that he just needed a second chance. Darren told me that earlier that night in his despair, he cried out to God in the subway station and right after that, this team of Don’t Walk By street volunteers approached him, offering to take him back to the anchor church! I was just floored and we prayed in that moment for God to continue the work that was started in him that night. Darren is at The Bowery Mission right now, getting the care and attention he needs to get a fresh start in life.
We’re praying for Darren and the countless other men and women living on the street who were affected by the Don’t Walk By events. We’re also thanking God for the hundreds of Hope for New York volunteers who helped make this massive outreach a reality, who on four Saturday nights in February decided not to walk by and instead to engage and love and minister to the poorest of the poor in our city.
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