A Hand Up, Not a Handout
The Bremerton Salvation Army in Washington state brought together the area’s homeless with elected officials for its “Lunch with Electeds.”
The Kitsap Sun writes that, over a lunch of turkey and potatoes, “society’s downtrodden” got some face time with city council members, mayoral candidates and state representatives.
“The homeless told lawmakers about a number of daily challenges, like finding a ride when Kitsap Transit is reducing service because of budget issues. Others spoke of the difficulty in making themselves presentable for a job or job interview, with limited opportunities for showers and haircuts.”
“The things you just take for granted,” said Fred Chang, Port Orchard city councilman.
The Salvation Army is doing its part. The article reports that the Bremerton Salvation Army is planning to open a hygiene center adjacent to its downtown location to help the homeless overcome cleanliness obstacles on their way to gaining employment. They’ve also asked lawmakers for help on creating a winter shelter that homeless people could use during the cold-weather months and for continued communication between agencies that work with the homeless and lawmakers and police agencies.
One meal at a time, one story at a time, lives are being changed.
It can be easy to separate ourselves from the marginalized of our society; to explain away or justify reasons why our lives are so different. But events like this remind us that no matter our station in life, we are all the same with the same fundamental needs: food, shelter, and access to opportunities.
Indeed, the Bremerton Salvation Army’s lunch is a great example of the Army’s goal to meet human needs wherever and however. Although we’ve evolved from the years where “soap, soup and salvation” was our slogan, we are always mindful of our beginnings and how offering people the very basics can often open doors in their futures that were never options before.