Just before “lights out” at 10:00 pm, Joy, a kindergartner at Sherwood Forest Elementary, placed her tooth under her pillow on the mat she sleeps on every night at the homeless shelter. Joy, along with her 4th-grade sister, mom, and dad, has been homeless since just after Christmas.
At “lights on” at 6:00 am the next morning, before enduring the routine of rolling up her mat, returning all her bedding, and packing all her belongings to ensure her family left nothing behind before departing by 7:00 am, Joy reached under her pillow. “Look Daddy, two dollars! Now we have more money for food,” Joy exclaimed to her watchful Dad.
Dad, who confesses fear, frustration, and deeper feelings of failure, smiled “Someone in the shelter put those two dollars under Joy’s pillow as we slept.” A similar story in the Bible refers to that as giving “extravagantly” out of love. Yes, within a family homeless shelter, there is heart, hope, and community.
Currently, there are 262 known homeless children and youth within the Bellevue School District. Jubilee REACH feels called to be part of the solution to drive down and strive to eliminate that number. As it has been our founding formula, we are loving, listening, and learning directly from homeless families, and engaging experience experts. Then we’re stepping in the gap, building an encouraging community of care around each family to provide a hand UP.
Oh, there is always a story, always a catalyst, and always a past that contributed to the present that can be used to build positive pathways to productive futures and transformed lives. That path is often messy and fraught with frustration. But we have found, when we stay long enough, love deeply enough, we find hope, and a little girl named Joy, because love never fails.
Soon, the number of homeless children in the Bellevue School District will drop by two, to 260, because a caring community of eight people invested in this family. Their resources were stewarded to provide temporary transitional housing while Dad completes his follow up interview for a welding job. Mom has a job with a compassionate employer able to adjust her schedule to help get her daughters to school in the morning. It takes a village, a body of people to believe in, love, and encourage.
We love one at a time. Maybe you might like to be part of a caring community to provide hope and a hand up from the abyss of homelessness for one more Bellevue School District family in our community.
With gratitude for your generous support and for allowing us to love one child, one family at a time.