January was Extreme Weather Shelter month at the church. Some great people (students included) stepped up to the plate to help provide a warm place for the homeless to rest for a night (or 25 as it turned out to be). Some volunteers fed them, some washed clothes and bedding, some packed lunches, some played cards and others just hung out and watched TV with them.
One of the things that we've seen as a result of this shelter is an influx of people hanging around the church during the day. They are sleeping in the courtyard, sleeping by the gym doors, hanging out in the front office, using the phone and just generally being a presence. (And I believe that is a good thing, even though I know it presents some difficulties.)
Many of the people who are around are looking for some sort of financial assistance. They can't (or won't) get food from the Food Bank of from Salvation Army. They've used up all their resources on rent, on damage deposits, or on drugs and alcohol. So they turn to the Church.
Since Monday is my day "on call" I was back and forth to the front office to talk with 5-6 people throughout the day. Most of the guys I talked with I have already met.
But it gets me wondering what other churches do when people show up looking for help. Care to share your approach?