I was writing today’s post when Owen asked me if he could give me an early birthday gift.
He hands me this card:
Dear Mom, I hope you have a great birthday (and Christmas). Love, Owen
I hope you can use this to do something for Latrobe Street Mission (with an arrow pointing to three, five-dollar bills…Owen’s birthday money).
There is no better gift anyone could have given me.
For the past few weeks, my family has been helping prepare the Latrobe Street Mission for its opening on December 3. The Mission is a homeless shelter in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The program is designed as a hand up instead of a hand out. For now, residents get breakfast, dinner, and a place to sleep. But, transition, counseling, and education programs are coming.
While serving as a family has been great for us, we want our kiddos to understand why we serve at Latrobe, why we serve our friends and family, why we serve anywhere or anyone:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of thesemy brothers,you did it to me.’” Matthew 25: 35-40
We serve because it’s for Him. It’s out of a great love for and thankfulness to our Creator that we volunteer at Latrobe or in our church or serve one another in our home or neighborhood. What we “do to” the “least of these,” we do to Jesus. As we do to another person – any person – we do to Jesus as we’re all the “least of these.” All in need of a Savior, His love, and His provision.
I can’t express what it means to me that Owen chose to “designate” my birthday money to Latrobe. He knows my heart…he understands what Steve and I are trying to emphasize this holiday season: Jesus and giving.
I bet I’ll get more gifts on my birthday. And, I’ll get more at Christmas. But, there’s no greater gift than Owen gave me this evening.
Owen is beginning to understand Matthew 25 deep in his young heart.
If you’d like to help Latrobe too, here’s how:
- Donate breakfast food. If you live locally, the Vienna, Parkersburg, and Ripley Walmarts are accepting breakfast food donations in the food entrances. Pop-tarts, breakfast bars, pancake/muffin mixes, syrup, granola bars, canned fruit, oatmeal, and other non-perishable items are welcome.
- Give $12 a month (or more). It costs the Mission $11.85 to feed and house one person for one day, so $12 covers that. Our family has decided to pledge this as part of our Christmas budget. We are each giving up a $36 gift this Christmas to cover 12 months.
- Volunteer. Again, if you’re local, the Mission needs volunteers who are willing to cook meals, work the thrift store, wash clothes/bedding, make beds, and more. If you’re interesting in helping, call the Mission at 304.893.9460 or email.
- Visit the website. It’s still under construction and may be “down” in the coming days, but the “Donate” button works. Any amount is appreciated.
You can also “Like” the Facebook page to keep up-to-date.
How will you give this Christmas? Please consider giving to those in need.