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Helping homeless with a meal and a message

Posted: May 12 2016 at 08:45 PM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt


United Methodists are helping homeless persons in Portland dine with dignity during General Conference.

Members of the United Methodist Rural Advocates (UMRA) are distributing cards made by children in churches across the connection along with meal vouchers to the Sisters of the Road Cafe, a local non-profit which is working to end poverty and homelessness by providing nourishing meals in a safe, dignified space.

“We hope delegates and visitors will take a card and a meal voucher and share it with someone on the streets here in Portland and it will be a sign of Jesus’ love for them,” said the Rev. Laura Beach, a United Methodist Rural Advocate from the Western North Carolina Conference.

According to the Portland Housing Bureau, on any given night more than 4,000 people sleep on the streets or in shelters across the city – and the homeless can be adults, young people, couples or families with children. United Methodist Rural Advocates pray the cards and vouchers will bring hope to those who may not know where they’ll get their next meal.

“It’s really beautiful to see the cards. Some of the children colored on the inside and some left them blank so delegates can write their own message,” said the Rev. Mary Bohall who is from the Northern Illinois Conference and received a scholarship from UMRA to attend General Conference.
 

Homelessmeals

Rev. Mary Bohall and Rockford District Superintendent Lisa Kruse-Safford are NIC’s United Methodist Rural Advocates.

Rev. Mary Bohall and Rockford District Superintendent Lisa Kruse-Safford are NIC’s United Methodist Rural Advocates.

Bohall said they’re also handing out an alternative city map which shows where homeless people typically live on the streets and along the waterfront as well as the ministries available to help the homeless community in Portland.

“We are also encouraging delegates to pick up two meal vouchers so they can have lunch and conversation with the person they encounter,” said Bohall. “This allows them to interact with them and see them as whole human beings rather than panhandlers.”

United Methodist Rural Advocates say it’s important to listen to our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and each has a unique story. UMRA collected more than 1,500 cards and the team is distributing them outside the Convention Center. Volunteers are wearing blue T-shirts with #GC4JC printed on them.

“No matter what happens inside the Convention Center, we hope that this will be a way we can feel Jesus’ presence with us and show that love in the city,” said Beach.

For more information on United Methodist Rural Advocates visit www.umruraladvocates.org and Sisters of the Road at sistersoftheroad.org.

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