Patrecia in Bulgeria has been patiently waiting for me to give an update on how OSS has been going, so really this post is a long overdue one for her. 🙂
The OSS (Operation Soup and Smokes) crew have continued to go to the park every Monday to serve the homeless, regardless of the weather or the Holiday for over a year now. We have a new helper who have joined us within the last month or so by the name of Susan and her cooking has been popular! 🙂 We are really happy to have her with us!!
Currently we estimate we are serving between 150-200 a week. There are some weeks when there aren’t as many. But usually, we easily have averaged over 120 a week for quite a while.
There are a few of the regulars that had moved into Transitions that seem to be doing well. Some have moved out. The winter shelters are now open so there is more activity on the streets.
We’ve seen many different people come and go, however; we haven’t seen the number of homeless shrinking. In fact, it is growing.
From talking to those we meet and learning their stories it might surprise the casual observer to know that they probably encounter a homeless person more often than they realize. Mention the words homeless person and you envision a person in multiple layers of clothing, dis-leveled, often reeking of alcohol or sleeping on a bench or a ex-con with a drug problem. I mean isn’t that the vision that was always portrayed for us? Yes, today’s homeless has some of that; but more often you have circumstances that have some living in their cars, lost their jobs, can’t find a job, some working part time jobs or any jobs they can find but still not able to afford a place to live. Some have had a major illness that financially left them homeless. The reasons for being homeless are unending it seems. There are men, women and children living on the streets, shelters, tents and cars.
It can be discouraging at times when you look at the whole problem, but it is also so rewarding to be a part of just showing people you care.
All of us know that there are those who will and have tried to take advantage of us – that is on them. We will still serve.
All of us know that there are those that pass in front of us in the serving line that are going to try to get off the streets, mess up and end up back on the streets again.
Doesn’t stop us from encouraging them to keep on trying.
Personally, I’m so glad Jesus didn’t/doesn’t give up on me for all the times that I screw up!
That’s the least we can do.
Oh, and give them a little something to eat. 🙂
PS: If there is someone that I’ve mentioned in any previous posts that you are wondering about, please comment and let me know. I will reply and let you know if I know anything about them. Thank you for keeping all of us in your prayers!