Helping Sacramento’s Homeless in 35,000 small steps
By Jim Morris
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
We have more homeless people in our community. It only takes a drive through a few major intersections to see the handmade signs seeking money, overfull shopping carts, people under a tattered blanket trying to sleep at a bus stop. Research indicates our homeless population has increased by 30 percent in the last few years.
My heart has softened for the homeless. After all, they all started like you and me, with dreams of prosperity. What went so wrong that they careened so far? We may never know, but we can help.
The Union Gospel Mission of Sacramento is doing phenomenal work. For more than a half century, the Mission has provided food, shelter, love, dignity and an infusion of faith to the homeless in our area. Last year, they provided an astounding 103,000 meals to those in dire need!
At the Mission, I met Nick, who I’m proud to call my friend. Nick has one of those smiles that can warm any heart. His upbeat demeanor backs it up.
I don’t know why Nick is at the Mission, other than there was deep hurt, the crushing grip of addiction and a nose dive to a place lower than many of us will ever know.
The good news is Nick is making great progress, and is expecting to graduate from the Mission and step back into society. “It has been life-changing, coming to the Mission,” he said. “They feed me three square meals every single day. They take care of so many needs of ours, including clothing, shoes and many personal items. The rehab program has classes every week, where we receive solid counseling on how to overcome addiction. We also have individual counselors helping our recovery.”
Nick says his Christian faith has been his rock through this storm. That and the structure, support and care provided by the Union Gospel Mission.
“Because of being lovingly encouraged to go through self-discipline and habit changes, I can personally say that I am a different person than I was 9 or 10 months ago,” he remarked. “I no longer have the same desires I had when I first came here.”
On December 2, I’ll be running the California International Marathon to help Nick and all of the others who have found rest and hope at the Union Gospel Mission. Here’s a link if you would like to provide support. At $1.92 per meal, a small contribution can go a long way!
Jim Morris is Communications Manager for the California Rice Commission. Jim has worked in communications for more than 20 years. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys his family, faith, football, outrageous monster stories and running marathons.