invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 1,700,000 kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No Glow Till We Take Care of the Children

A week ago tonight I was sitting on stage in Joliet, IL with the University of St. Francis president, the president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, the USF VP of social ministry, and a few other folks who rotated on/off the stage. 
They had already hosted a delightful dinner, with most of the HEAR US board in attendance as well as plenty of key folks from the university. The audience for the Sister Clare Award ceremony included my high school teacher and 2 college professors as well as a slew of Joliet Franciscans I knew from days gone by. I was touched by the showing from my St. Joe's students from ancient times...and by all, friends and strangers, who took the time to attend.

To carry on the celebration, we had a reception where pictures were taken and lots of hugs shared. And the stack of my books, Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness, were sold and autographed. Oh so very much fun!

Silly me, I volunteered to help fix breakfast at Daybreak, the offspring of the Will County PADS shelter I started back in the 1980s...still run by Catholic Charities. I was scheduled to be at the shelter at 8:30 for a meet-and-greet with staff and volunteers, but since Tillie was buried by the previous night's snowstorm, I begged a ride. It was the USF turn to do breakfast. One of the social ministry team was going and offered to pick me up.

Ouch. 4:00 am came quite fast. Coffee didn't work as well as it needed to. Neither did his defroster, but we made it. Our small team had to scramble to get breakfast ready for about 100 people. I scrambled eggs with the Dean. Real eggs. We made real biscuits. And real gravy with sausage. With real love.

The award ceremony was special. But almost as special, in a different way, was the deep-seated dedication to this ministry of caring for our homeless brothers and sisters as exhibited by my USF friends. Their involvement goes beyond an occasional turn at the shelter. Way beyond.

The glow from the award and the volunteer stint was shattered by the cry of a little baby, stuffed in a carseat carrying basket, plopped on one of the well-worn banquet tables in the shelter dining room. We still have much work to do.