Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Warm, Cozy Bed

The Room in the Inn Program began this week and will last through March, and my church is hosting a group of nine or ten people who are homeless every Wednesday night. So tonight one church member picked up the group; two other people made sack lunches; another two set out ten mattresses and made them up with sheets and blankets; another shopped for breakfast foods and toiletries; and two more are staying with them tonight; and another will drive them back to the "campus" in the morning. And I had the pleasure of cooking for everyone, trying out my cooking skills and my teeny tiny kitchen, which resulted in it taking three times the normal amount of time to make two 13x9 pans of baked ziti. Fortunately the ziti turned out well, and we were all stuffed. It was amazing how fast four loaves of buttered garlic bread disappeared. The brownies and candy were gone quickly too, and the gratitude was overflowing and touching as was the excitement over the packets of tea, hot chocolate, and cider.

I had the opportunity to talk with the women at my table, and it was interesting to learn a little about them. One woman came in with some cute hot pink rolling luggage and was very well spoken and wants to attend law school, but after being in an abusive relationship, she seems to have fallen on hard times. Another woman often sleeps in a barn and lamented about the dangers of being a homeless woman. Another was hoping to catch Jamie Foxx on the CMAs. So in some ways it was unlike any other conversation I'd have over dinner, but then in some ways it was just like any other get-to-know you situation.

So I'm glad that I've met some new people, had an opportunity to serve others, that these women and hundreds of other homeless people have a warm and safe bed tonight, and that I'm curling up in a warm and cozy bed shortly too.

p.s. I'm thankful that I get to try a new coffeehouse in the morning....the Frothy Monkey.

12 comments:

icadle said...

The Frothy Monkey???? Wow, I wonder if they specialize in drinks made with banannas...hmmm...

Pam said...

What a rewarding experience. That's awesome that you were able to minister to those folks through companionship, conversation, food, and shelter. You just never know a person's journey until you take the time and listen. ;)

Ys said...

I was gonna ask what ziti was until you said it was buttered garlic bread. Sounds like a very nice evening. I'm glad everyone had a good time :)

Enjoy your coffee!

AaroN said...

I learned some interesting tid-bits while working at the homeless shelter in Atlanta. For instance, homeless women are more likely to be homeless only temporarily (even more so if they have children) than men. In fact, most homeless women get back on their feet faster than men. Something to do with the feminine psyche and thinking of being homeless as just a temporary phase in their life rather than accept it as the inevitable outcome of their life.

Ally said...

Ys: I served garlic bread with the ziti--which is a kind of noodle; I combined ziti, meat, sauces, and spices and then layered it with a mixture of cheeses and spices and baked hence "baked ziti."

Aaron: Thanks for sharing that. I wonder if a lot of women are homeless because of a specific and isolated incident, i.e. abusive spouse, so once they get back on their feet they're able to maintain a job, etc. Also I would guess that a significant portion of homeless men might be veterans and/or mentally ill whereas we don't have that many female veterans. This morning on the news they were discussing how many homeless veterans we have, and it's really sad that we fail to take care of people who served us and are likely homeless because of that very service.

Scotty said...

You know whats funny, is that I was just thinking yesterday about how I never see homeless women, or that there are very few... very interesting.

I know situations are different for everyone... but as a veteran myself, there are LOTS of programs that are available to homeless veterans these days. The thing is, that many don't know about them (or how to find), are reluctant to ask for help, or don't recognize that the Veterans Association is there for them. Here, when I see one I make it a point to tell them where the VA is and talk to them (and have found that about 75% are just 'saying' they are a veteran to get more $ from handouts).

Allison said...

Ally, You're the coolest! Just explain to me one thing: How can you say that you wish you were more driven?? You have a high powered career and spend your spare time helping people who have less than you. You rock!

Jamie said...

Your dinner sounds fabulous! I know it had to have been very appreciated too.

The coffee house sounds cute!

cdp said...

I'm thankful that the world has people like you and the others at your church to do things like this.

kudos.

Libby said...

what an amazingly generous initiative! and mmm the frothy monkey SOUNDS like it'll be great!

Ally said...

Allison: My little blurb about myself needs to be changed....I wrote it about two years ago and have never updated it! Thanks for pointing that out.

A Life Uncommon said...

So great to hear of what you're doing.