For many people, Easter is a time of family gatherings, home-cooked meals, and fun activities that generate fond memories. But no one thinks of choosing to be on the street, especially at a time like Easter. Discouragement is often the reality and Easter merely becomes another day for our street friends to feel sad and down because of the circumstances in which they find themselves. However, the simple message of Easter is one of hope.
For OIM’s street friends, sometimes hope is found in a meal served by a compassionate volunteer, or it might be a break in the long cold winter weather with the hope of spring. It could easily be getting a new coat to replace the one that is falling apart. Whatever it is, we want those in need to know they can choose hope! Easter serves as a reminder that there is always hope for a better tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I was filming a video of our Street Outreach volunteers and was able to connect with a regular at OIM, Martha. She was waiting for our volunteers in a bus shelter. I asked her if she would be willing to share what OIM means to her with those who might view the video. She was so excited to share the impact that OIM had made to her, just by being there to help her survive each day with food, clothing, and the relationship our volunteers have with her. Her excitement, despite terribly cold, bleak circumstances, filled my heart with joy and gave me hope that OIM continues to make a difference every single day for all those adults, veterans, and youth we encounter. What an incredible bonus and privilege to be blessed by Martha (who literally wished “blessings to you all”), when initially it was I who was there to help and bless her and others like her. What an unexpected source of hope!
This year, OIM will serve a special Easter meal on Tuesday April 25th. For the first time in 3 years our Street Friends will have the opportunity to be seated indoors by volunteers and served a big, traditional Easter meal that includes ham, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a delicious pie. Others may choose to continue with the Takeaway option, but in all circumstances OIM volunteers get to come alongside and not only provide a hearty meal, but companionship, care without judgement, and provide a huge helping of hope!
By connecting with a hurting person with a smile and a delicious meal served by a kind stranger, we can show them just how much hope there is at Easter. With your help, those who are most in need of hope can celebrate Easter surrounded by people who genuinely care about them.
You can donate a meal and bring hope to someone by clicking here. (Then choose the Easter 2023 fund in the drop-down menu.)
You can also donate food items by clicking here https://mealtrain.com/3261nl
~Cam – Manager, Community Engagement