By Woody Woodrick
D.J. Cousins played a game of checkers on an unseasonably warm day before Thanksgiving.
While the next several days were projected to be warm, Cousins knew colder days were coming. So while Cousins played checkers, volunteers at
“Hanging out here you can enjoy yourself,” said Cousins. “It’s all right.”
Cousins was one of about 60 Jackson street people who spent a few hours on Nov. 22 at Galloway eating soup, taking showers washing clothes and picking up a few needed items. It was all part of “Thanksgiving in
Pam Meek, director of missions at
“It went great,” Meek said, “We had a little over 60 street people come through. They had the option of taking a shower, getting their clothes washed, getting a coat, something to eat, gloves, socks and things like that.”
Galloway pastor the Rev. Ross Olivier said Thanksgiving in
“I believe our ministry with the poor is a reflection of
“I look forward to the day when moments like that are seen as acts of normalcy rather than special events. Thanksgiving in
The event’s name comes from the church’s commitment to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Activities are divided into three categories:
In addition to the street folks, about 50 volunteers took part. Clothing was donated and then sorted by the missions team; the music department handled washing clothes. The youth prepared hygiene kits, and others cooked or served soup and desserts. Many church members dropped off items.
Meek said the church’s guests seemed to appreciate the gesture.
“They were just glad somebody opened the doors and said come on in,” she said. “One guy said he felt so safe. That’s what we want them to feel.”
As Meek moved around the
“They’re my guys,” she said. “They have such different stories. If we had been dealt different cards, it might be me (in their situation).”
“We need to thank God whenever the poorest of the poor are in our midst,” he said. “The Bible explicitly tells us (Matthew 25:31) that they, more than any other act of Christian discipleship, connect us to Jesus. It is we who must thank the guests who accepted our invitation, much more than we deserve their thanks. It is in this ministry of Jesus that the vast chasm between our hell and God’s heaven can be breached: Lazarus and Dives (Luke 16:19-31) is a story that warns how the roles of rich and poor will be reversed unless we live compassionately and generously.”
Meek said the goal is to make Thanksgiving in