22 February 2011

Skutt High School Seniors Make A Difference

Today, I had the privilege of speaking at Skutt High School 4 times today to all the seniors. They have been learning about poverty from around the world and wanted to see and learn about poverty in their community.

As I was sitting their waiting to speak to the 1st class I found out quickly they the senior students a total of 162 of them were donating $2 to the Open Door Mission. I was amazed to see students dropping $2 in the bucket all day as I spoke to each of the classes. You see it cost Open Door Mission $1.92 to provide a hot, nutritious meal to many hungry and homeless men, women, and children. Here are High School students in our community that are making a difference right here, and right now.

As I continue to speak throughout the day I had students ask me about volunteering, donating their used clothing and how else they can make a difference in their community. They are all getting ready to graduate in the next few month and here are men and women that want to make a difference. I want to say a big thank you to the seniors at Skutt High for making a difference in the community today.

If you would like to know more about how you can make a difference right here, right now in your community please visit www.opendoormission.org and click on the volunteer button at the top of the page.

21 February 2011

Devotions are a blessing

A few months ago I was asked along with my co-worker to lead devotions for the men and women who are on one of the Open Door Missions Life Changing Programs. This was something I had prayed for since I started working the Night Watch shift. I wanted to share Biblical truths and my life’s story with the clients. I have been through a lot in my life and God has truly blessed me and I wanted to share what God has done in my life and how my faith in Him has grown.

So many of the clients have had a very difficult life that I felt a desire to encourage and share the love of Jesus with them. I thank God for the opportunity of sharing each week. It seems after devotions are over a client stops and says how much the Lord had blessed them. It is somewhat difficult sharing after being up all night, but after I hear encouraging testimonies from the clients, I forget how tired I am and rejoice in the opportunity to share and I am blessed.

In Christ,

Janice Loud

18 February 2011

Never Judge

Homeless people who appear to be homeless by choice less deserving of compassion or assistance than others? If they do indeed choose this lifestyle why should anyone interfere, why should anyone go out of their way or put their hands in their pockets to help them? Most people think it’s to blame the homeless because of the choices that are made daily. There are all types of homeless people that walk from different corners in life. There are all kinds of reasons why people become homeless it can be beyond their control or the ability to deal with it. There are some homeless people that are due to circumstances that have overwhelmed themselves by combining the lack of a family support structure or no positive actions in life.

Most homeless teens often become homeless due to an actively hostile, abusive, or non-supportive family environment. Then there are people without a good friend and family support structure can be overwhelmed by events such as domestic abuse, divorce, unemployment, or illness. Each day that I am working with the homeless by feeding, clothing and making sure they have somewhere to sleep on a hot sunny day or a cold snowy night, I might not understand their situation or their pain but I do under physical or emotionally and by me helping or volunteer make me think I will never take life for granted.

16 February 2011

Working with Volunteers!

It is such a blessing to be able to work with the volunteers that come though the doors at the Open Door Mission. Prior to working in the volunteer department, I had no idea how many volunteers came through the doors nor how diversified they are!

A group that is growing bigger and bigger is the group of volunteers associated with General Assistance. This group of amazing, hard working individuals is one that comes from a partnership with Douglas County.

These folks come in for a set number of volunteer hours per month and fulfilling that required time helps them to continue to receive the benefits that Douglas County is providing for them. I will tell you, these ladies give the teenage groups we often get a run for their money! They are absolutely hard working, organized and have a strong desire to complete the tasks they have been given.

As I look out where the ladies were sorting, organizing and shelving the donations today I am amazed at what they have accomplished! They have emptied out and hung boxes and boxes of clothing that will re-fill our shelves and help with the preventative measures at the Timberlake Outreach Center as we bless folks from the Community who are able to shop for these items for free this week.

We are always looking for individuals/groups to join our efforts in sorting, organizing and shelving donations (SOS teams). If you are interested in volunteering, please send us an email at: volunteer@opendoormission.org or give us a call at (402) 829-1504.

15 February 2011

Healthy Habits

At Open Door Mission we have a health initiative. This is a good thing. Everyone needs healthy eating and exercise habits. It is so easy to fail into unhealthy ones and soon difficult to keep healthy ones alive. A number of coworkers and I have decided to do a noon walk with the weather permits.

Do you remember 2/8/11? It was a Tuesday where the high was zero. It was a little windy and when we decided to do our walk - it was two below zero. It was cold but we were determined. After all we had winter coats, scarves, hats, and gloves. We simply had to walk for a half an hour and we would be on our way to creating a healthy habit.

We set out and while we had body heat left over from being inside with our coats on - it was not so bad. Then that heat was used up and while we were walking at a good pace we failed to generate enough heat to stay warm. Our eyes started to tear and the tears froze on our face. Then our sinus started to ache and our faces started to hurt. This was about ten minutes into our walk.

At this point our path turned and now we were facing into the breeze. It was not blowing enough to be called a wind. It was gentle - but the affect was to expand the hurt from our face to our whole heads. It almost felt like we did not have on winter hats. Fortunately, we had planned to be able to stop off at the chapel and walk around inside for a couple of moments to warm up.

The couple of moments turned into five minutes and felt so good. We got to warm up and our faces began to fee again it almost felt like burning. From there we went to the Timberlake Outreach Center and then to the administration building. Mission accomplished.

I share this with you because we walked in a route that we always had the option to duck in somewhere to get warm. We had good clothing - thought not adequate. We were outside for about thirty minutes and suffer the ill affects of the exreme cold. Some while they do not have to be outside, their shelter only stops the wind and slows the loos of heat. The cold is an unquenchable force that has to be battled.

If you are enjoying heat in your home, heat in your car, heat from abundant clothing - please pray for our clients to seek safety. Please if you see a homeless person out in the cold please bring them to the Open Door Mission or if you are not able to please call 422-1111 and ask for a male staff member that the Garland Thompson Men's Center. We will be more then happy to bring them to the Open Door Mission where they will receive a hot, nutritious meal and a night of warm safe shelter.

Steve Frazee.

14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today was Valentine's Day and for many in the Heartland it was filled with flowers, chocolate, and Love. For many homeless men, women, and children in the Heartland, today is not usually filled with those things. At Open Door Mission volunteers turned the dinning hall and chapel at the Garland Thompson Men's Center into a beautiful banquet room fully decorated with Valentine's Day greetings on the tables and even 500 balloons thanks to a donation from Bakers.

Hungry and homeless men, women, and children entered into the room for meal time and were greeted with smiles from lots of volunteers who helped them find a seat and then served with a hot, nutritious special Valentine's Day meal. Each homeless man, women, and child even got to take one of the balloons with them.
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07 February 2011

Thank You Borders

Open Door Mission is thankful for partners in the community who organize drives for us. Over the last month Borders at 132 & Maple challenged their shoppers to buy a children's book, toy or game and then turn around and donate it to their book drive.
With Education one of the keys to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty a book drive was a great idea. Borders collected 11 boxes of children's books, toys and games and brought them to the Open Door Mission's Lydia House. Every child receives brand new books of their own when the come to the Lydia House. thank you Borders for making a difference right here, right now in our community.

If you are have a business, attend a church, school or just a family that would like to do a drive or have a life changing volunteer opportunity please visit the Open Door Mission website.

03 February 2011

The Garland Thompson Men’s Center Makes Me a Better Father

It is not always easy to meet the needs of several dozen men, all at the same time. It seems that there are so many demands and so little time. Suffice it to say that God has given me numerous opportunities to practice my patience. I find myself waiting to hear the whole story, and not jumping the gun, in order to give a quick and easy solution. The men that come through the Garland Thompson Men's Center have helped me take the time necessary to understand both sides of an issue, no longer "It’s my way because I said so". This helps me as a father because I can slow down and listen to the heart, not just immediate demands. I know in my spirit that I have grown tremendously while working at the mission.

Trevor Bittner
GTMC Support Worker

02 February 2011

Why Open Door Mission needs your Help!

Today as I stepped out of my heated house this morning in my nice warm winter coat and gloves on to start my car to heat it up before coming to work. I could not help think of the many homeless in our city that don't have a coat, gloves or even a nice heated roof over my head and the reality of that hit me today.

A family called the Timberlake Outreach Center this morning and talked to one of the staff. They were in desperate need of a food pantry for their family of 6, a dad, mom and 4 children. The staff talked with them and told them to come down and see them and they could get them a pantry. As that family walked into the Timberlake Outreach Center, one of their children, a 8 year old boy was dressed in a thin fleece jacket because they did not have enough to get him a winter coat. The staff not only went and got that little boy a winter coat but also a winter hate and gloves. The joy that came over that little boys face was the best things you could have seen.

Friends it's very cold out there and there are many homeless and near homeless men, women, and children that find refuge at the Open Door Mission. Last night there were over 500 men, women, and children that had a night of safe warm shelter, and Open Door Mission serve a record 2,00 hot, nutritious meal to the hungry and homeless, but we could not serve all these people with out your help.

Open Door Mission is in need of winter clothing, hats, coats, mittens for the homeless and space heaters for the near homeless. You call Maggie today at 422-1111 or visit www.opendoormission.org to sign up to start your own Winter Warm Up Drive today.

01 February 2011

The Open Door Mission’s Lydia House Permanent Supportive Housing

I had the opportunity to walk through the new building for Permanent Supportive Housing with our Maintenance team and I am so excited to see the progress being made on the building. To know that God has a plan for all the lives that He is going to impact through Permanent Supportive Housing is enough to leave me speechless.

I may not know who these individuals and families are at this time but God knows each one by name. It is truly a blessing to be part of God’s magnificent plan for these souls. They might have gone through a lot of desperation and despair; they might have been down and discouraged but God has a greater plan and a safe shelter for them. I’m anticipating great things to happen in the Permanent Supportive Housing and in the lives of each one living there.

Jeannette Blackstone
Permanent Supportive Housing Director