Category Archives: Relationship

Former Homeless Shelter Guest Reinforces Importance of Our Work

A wonderful story about a former homeless shelter guest  — with a powerful message — from Executive Director Herb Newell …

There are times when all of us who work in family sheltering have felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need. We see the seeming intransigence of current problems, and know all too well the mentally tough work. At those times it’s important to remember that we have been – and continue to be – a significant part of the response to homeless shelter guests needing help and guidance.

I was reminded of the enormous impact our work can have during a recent visit to our Furniture Bank. Continue reading Former Homeless Shelter Guest Reinforces Importance of Our Work

Trunk or Treat

Living Hope Four Square Church in Hanover invited our guests from Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore to Trunk or Treat last Sunday.  This event brought a lot of joy to parents and children like.

What is Trunk or Treat?

Well, it’s like a Halloween tailgate party for our shelter guests and their children. They wander trunk to trunk gathering their bounty of delectable treats. The children also had a chance to show off their costumes too! Along with playing lots of fun games where they could win prizes. All we can say was it was a real treat for all!

Here are some pictures from the Trunk or Treat event. Tell us below or on our Facebook page what events you plan to put on during the holidays.

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More Wise Than I – Friends of the Homeless

2014_09_12 Fixers ImageMore wise than I – The occasional musings of someone who aspires to be “a friend of the homeless,” for others who want to do the same: “Everyone wants to fix everything.” Our culture has developed a whole social strata of people fixers — psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, just to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong, I value those very highly those who make it their goal to help others. I work with them everyday. I am one with them and one of them. But I also value friendship, something we are all called to, and I worry that we have become so enamored with the “professional” approach to helping others that we have undermined the value of friendship. We’re scared to be helpers and friends merely because we lack a credential.

As Oz said to the Tin Man: “You don’t need a brain, you need a diploma!”

One of the gold standards of the people-fixing field is the MSW: Master of Social Work — as if there were such a thing. Does anyone ever master Social Work? On the one hand, this is a good reason for a little humility, a reason to keep studying and learning. And on the other, if no one masters social work, and everyone is still learning to swim, then all the rest of us of us can be more free to dip our toes in that water, not with a sense of entitlement, but at least with a little less fear that we just don’t know enough to make a difference in someones life.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

— Henri J. M. Nouwen

Perhaps Henri Nouwen has it right. The best approach to helping is befriending, listening to, hearing, touching, feeling with others, and caring.

As often as not we do not have a cure. We do not even know the cure. Perhaps there is no cure; however, the best treatment, friendship, does not rely on a remedy, but simply on being present in the moment. This simple thing, friendship, matters.

What are some ways you have personally reached out to the homeless through the years. We would love to hear about it below, or feel free to share about it on our Facebook or Google+ pages.