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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
My husband threw a few logs on the fireplace the other night
and standing there watching the dancing flames, I had a feeling of guilt
overtake me. I thought, “I am really blessed in the grand scheme of things! I
have a roof over my head and a kindling fireplace to enjoy the warmth with my
family. Yes, I am blessed; however, too many families aren’t so fortunate.”
As the cold air whirled outside my cozy home I knew there is
someone; some family; some small child who was not warming by a fireplace but who
instead would be fighting off the frigid weather, without a home and some even
without basic winter apparel. Far too many people will go through this Holiday
season struggling to stay out of the harsh elements and we will sit around our
fireplaces with our families enjoying life. Is that a bad thing, of course not?
Nevertheless, it should be concerning to us that at last count; there were
nearly 250 people in this community without a permanent residence.
Yes, 250 men, women and children in THIS community are
homeless and that number continues to grow annually. What can be done? Great
question and the first part of the answer is awareness. Familiarize yourself
with the community’s homeless issues. The week before Thanksgiving is National
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week and the Macon County Homeless Advisory
Council, a subcommittee for the Continuum of Care sponsors awareness events
during this week each year. One such event that has taken place for over 10
years is “Box City”. The committee gathers local youth groups, provides
speakers, activities and construction of a box city where the youth sleep
outside to experience a night without a warm bed.
This year we held “Box City” at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
here in Decatur and it was one of the coldest nights on record for the event. I
do want to thank the church and the youth for sticking it out with my husband
and me! As I mentioned earlier, the warm fireplace was very much appreciated
after that sleep out but at least we did not have to go back out there the
following night. This is where my guilty feelings crept in, as I enjoyed the
A second part of the answer is to do something. Volunteer
your time and talents or donate to local efforts. If you need information about
volunteer opportunities or a list of local efforts please feel free to contact
the Homeward Bound office, 217-362-7700. In the meantime stay warm and filled
with the joy of giving this upcoming Holiday season and throughout the year!