Love your neighbor as yourself : Part 1
by Rossaue Hosein
Did you know that 2,243 people are currently living without a home in Hillsborough County, Florida according to the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative? And of that number 14 percent are Veterans and 36 percent report having a mental illness.
According to the 2014 Homeless Count Results (http://www.thhi.org), we know the following about who is homeless in our communities:
31% are women
9% are under the age of 18
14% have served in the U.S. Military
13% are Hispanic
64% report having a disability (physical, mental health, developmental)
36% report having a mental illness
55% are experiencing homelessness for the FIRST time
74% lived in Hillsborough County for at least 1 year BEFORE becoming homeless
Earlier this year I was at a dinner hosted by a global company. At our table sat two men who worked for the company. I don’t recall how the conversation came up, but someone made a comment about a homeless person sitting on the side of the road with a sign for money to get food. The man commented that he didn’t believe the man was in need because he had on a very expensive pair of athletic shoes. This comment caught my attention. Several years ago I would have drawn the same conclusion based on what I’d seen, but now I know how a homeless person gets a new pair of shoes.
Though the statistics may seem hopeless, we believe there is hope for our neighbors. We live in a world where God is using every-day people to bless those who are marginalized in our society. There are people buying new shoes and giving them away to the homeless. Several organizations and individuals have committed to being the hands and feet for Christ and are gathering clothing and shoes to distribute to the people in the community and abroad. God’s people are generous and when they realize they don’t “need” that extra pair of Nike’s or that Polo shirt, they donate.
In the book of Mark, a teacher asks the question, which is the greatest commandment… “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” When we choose to consider those in our community who have nothing and give to them that which we would give to ourselves we live our faith out loud in a way that honors God.
To find out how you can get involved in meeting the needs of the homeless in your community, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we declare NO MORE HOPELESS!
Give to Declare NO MORE!