During the Don’t Walk By outreach last month, hundreds of volunteers—including teams from all three Redeemer congregations—canvassed to the city to provide resources to the people living on the streets.
Redeemer Downtowner Elizabeth Elliott volunteered for Don’t Walk By for the first time this year. She writes that the outreach has changed the way she views her homeless neighbors:
This was the first time I’ve participated in Don’t Walk By, but I had heard from friends that I didn’t need to bring anything except extra layers and a willingness to speak to strangers.
As a total extrovert, I wasn’t nervous about approaching someone on the street—especially since we had excellent help and services to offer as provided by the hospitality team back at the base church.
But committing to engage with the homeless made me think about the future: how would stopping this time, instead of walking by, change the way I commute everyday? Could I go back to putting on blinders to the need in my own neighborhood?
When we received our city coordinates that Saturday, I had to laugh with the Lord: He knew my hesitancy, and put our team (which was mostly made of my Community Group) in the area near Union Square and St Marks Place, right outside my front door! I met many people that evening who call “home” the streets close to my home.
Now, weeks later, I can’t say that my commute has been changed dramatically, except for one young woman in particular, I say “hello” when I see her and try to have extra food that I can offer. I am not sure how long she will “live” in the area (like so many transient acquaintances in New York), but for now, I am glad to be of small service and thankful to Hope for New York and Don’t Walk By for providing the opportunity!
Interested in how you can serve homeless populations throughout the year through Hope for New York? Here are just a few ways!
Pick up a handful of resource cards—cards to hand out to people living on the street that list places to go to for food, clothing, shelter—at the info table after a Redeemer service.
Volunteer with organizations that serve men and women in need. Find a full listing of these organizations on our website at http://hfny.org/adultrecovery/.
Pray for your homeless neighbors, that God would provide for those in need, that God’s people would demonstrate love and compassion to them, and that they would experience the renewal of Christ’s grace and love.