How to help the homeless in Fort Worth, Texas
My sister, Jennifer, is a pediatric nurse. She wrote the following for me to share:
My family visited the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter on Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth last night.
The streets in the area of the shelter are filled with homeless people. Many sleeping on sidewalks or in small tents on the side of the road.
I had recently cared for a child whose family is homeless, living at this Salvation Army shelter. When this family was being discharged from the hospital, the boy owned only two pairs of pants (both given by the hospital) and no coat. He wore his dad’s coat when they left the hospital on their way to the bus stop, to return to the shelter. The family carried all that they owned in pillowcases and a couple hospital patient belonging bags. I spoke with his parents, and asked if it would be okay if I brought some clothes to the shelter for the little boy, to which she so graciously thanked me for offering.
Our neighbors also helped to donate coats, bedding, and a couple of children’s bicycles to donate to the shelter as well. My mom donated a suitcase and duffel bag so that this family would not have to continue carrying their belongings in pillowcases.
When we arrived to the shelter, this family had not yet arrived for the evening. They have to leave the shelter during the day, and return later in the day to spend the night. While we waited with bags and suitcases in the Salvation Army lobby, the receptionist said that their facility did not accept donations, and directed us to the Presbyterian Night Shelter to drop off any other donated items (blankets, coats, etc—anything not for this specific family).
While we waited, two other families checked into the shelter, both with small children. Adults proceeded through a metal detector, and were breathalyzed prior to admission. An older woman walked in last, and was told there were no more beds available for the evening.
The boy and his dad arrived to the shelter, and were very thankful for the items donated to them. The father then told me that they had come from the hospital, where the mother was now admitted to manage her own chronic illness.
This boy was so happy, playful, chatty, and busy. He talked to my kids like they were just friends. As we were getting ready to leave, the boy excitedly asked me “Are you spending the night here, too!?” My heart was so heavy leaving this boy. Then I looked at my own girl, who had been quietly observing. She had little alligator tears in her eyes and said to me, “I want to have a fundraiser or something for this place. Or make care packages for these people.” So we will.
She’s truly the sweetest girl I have ever met. Ever. I say that a lot, because it’s so true. She cares so much.
Alyssa would like to make care-packages to hand out on Christmas Day!
She even set up an Amazon Wish List to help you shop!
You can also donate money or gift cards to help Alyssa buy these items, herself!
- Hand warmer packs “Hot Hands”
- $5-10 fast food gift cards
- Thrift store gift cards
- Rain Ponchos
- Bus tickets/passes
- Water bottles (bottled water or refillable bottles)
- Snacks: Beef jerky, Trail mix, applesauce, soft/chewy granola bars, protein bars, tuna/chicken salad with cracker packs, cracker packages, ready-to-eat soup cups
- Bandaids/tiny first aid kits
- Gum & Mints
- Kleenex (pocket-size)
- GALLON Ziplock bags to make care packages
- Encouraging note or Bible verse to include
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
Jennifer's family & my own will come together to help Alyssa hand deliver all of her care-packages to the homeless in downtown Fort Worth on Christmas Day! I pray this will be a Christmas our children never forget, as I think this will be a humble reminder of how our Savior came...
... in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Friendship is the finest balm,