Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping." -Chinese Proverb

The rooms are not elaborate: two beds, a bathroom, and a small dresser for the few items a client may have are about the extent of their contents.  The food pantry is not overflowing; in fact, the shelves in the single room are usually completely bare after each day it is open.  Regular maintenance on floors, roofs, washers, water pipes, everything is much more difficult without tools and the money to pay for a plumber or electrician.  Inside the Agape House, resources are basic, but the effect they have is profound.

This statement is the embodiment of what I experienced as I toured the Agape House this past week.  The establishment is simple, but it meets the basic needs and provides a safe haven for homeless individuals across the county.  Inside those eight rooms, individuals have access to soap, toothbrushes, and blankets.  They find shelter from the cold and rain.  They can wash their clothes and shower.   They can direct their focus to rebuilding their lives, instead of worrying about the little things that others so often take for granted.

Every day, the Agape House opens its doors to everyone in need--not just those who are homeless. Anyone in need of a meal is welcome each night to share dinner with other clients and volunteers or receive items from the food pantry.  If a person is in need, the volunteers at the Agape House do everything they can to ensure he/she receives a blanket, or coat, or help paying a bill.  There is even a small "cabin" on sight to house a homeless family if the 8 rooms are filled.

The Agape House is in great need of donations.  Everyone who works there is a volunteer; they donate their time and money to those who are in greater need than themselves, even when their own personal amounts of time and money are limited.  They spend as small amounts of money as possible on the actual establishment, and nothing on anything that would benefit themselves.  Once the bills are paid to keep the lights on, everything else goes towards food and personal care items for the clients.

The Agape House is not a rich establishment, but, compared to what individuals have when they come to the Agape House for help, it is a luxury.  It is so much more important to the volunteers that anyone who needs help can find it in some way, than to spend donations unnecessarily around the establishment.

As Mother Teresa said, sometimes we must "live simply, so others may simply live."

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