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Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
During this time of year those of us who are of the Christian faith retell a timeless event that happened two thousand years ago in a little town named Bethlehem in the tiny country of Israel on the east side of the Mediterranean Sea.
We believe that the events that happened that evening have changed the world as Jesus Christ the Son of God was born and lived as one of us. Even many non-Christians are familiar with the details of Jesus’ birth.
Churches throughout the world will tell in readings, cantatas, plays, and songs that Joseph and His very- pregnant wife Mary went to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. They stopped at the local inns in Bethlehem only to be told that there was no room for them.
One innkeeper did tell them they could stay in the stall where the animals were kept. There the Savior of humankind had His humble birth. The retelling of this story pricks our hearts and makes many of us be more sensitive to the needs of people around us and find new ways to reach out those needs.
However, the needs of people go on every day of the year, not just during Christmas.
That need can be overwhelming at times, especially in the economically challenging times in which we presently find ourselves.
The plight of the homeless is a daunting challenge, but we have an organization that has been working for the past few years to make a difference.
The Shepherds Shelter under the leadership of Sara Sulier and a dedicated board, and with an involved corps of volunteers are working tirelessly to fulfill our mission to “prevent and end homelessness” by providing families in the crisis of…. or at risk of homelessness, with emergency shelter and supportive services, and advocacy to assist them in quickly moving to transitional and then to permanent affordable housing.
We work with limited funds to help everyone we can either directly or by referral to other agencies. We also seek to help them through creating public awareness of the truth about homelessness in our community.
TSSI is the only homelessness and housing initiative of its kind in Bullitt County. We assisted 706 homeless individuals from July 2008 to June 2009. During that same period in Bullitt County there were 459 recorded eviction notices and 360 foreclosures.
The need here is very real and growing. TSSI offers not just a hand out but a hand up by providing what help we can through limited funds and donations from the community and grant monies.
We provide emergency shelter and transitional housing for those who qualify as well as case management to assist people in searching for and obtaining affordable housing and available resources and benefits while providing guidance on how to gain/regain self-sufficiency of permanent housing and to maintain stability.
When a person successfully moves from transitional to permanent housing we have even provided some donated furniture and appliances to help them get started. TSSI is providing a valuable service to the homeless of Bullitt County.
And, as with every successful endeavor, it takes dedicated personnel, a lot of hard work and money. While the demand for help is increasing, we are facing a deficit in operational funds that truly threatens the mere existence of an agency that has provided assistance to over 1000 persons in 2010.
As a new board member and pastor of the Davidson Memorial United Methodist Church, and a citizen of Bullitt County I appeal to the other churches, businesses, government officials, and individual citizens to find out more about TSSI and help us fulfill our mission of preventing and ending homelessness in Bullitt County.
Your gift can make a powerful difference in someone’s life and help us not have to tell the 150 persons who come through our doors each month that there is “no room at the inn.”
And your money will make a difference as show by a testimony by a young woman who approached one of our board members with these words after seeing our float in the Christmas parade…"You helped me when I and my children had nothing and nowhere to turn. I now have a good job, my children are doing great in school. We have a nice home and a nice new car. I will never forget what you did for us. I just wanted to stop and say, 'Thank You'."
God bless and Merry Christmas!
Bro. Lanny Garner