By Kristen Caldwell
How can we help folks who are homeless? The need is so overwhelming.
In the interest of taking at least a step in answer to the question, Fremont United Methodist Church in Portland used the online Nextdoor app to invite their Irvington and Alameda neighbors to provide gift bags for folks without housing.
HOW (Hand Out Windows) gift bags contained a small flashlight, small pack of wet wipes, socks, hand warmers, TriMet hop pass, and a granola or protein bar. The team packed 100 bags and about a week later Nextdoor was used again to let the same neighborhoods know that they could pick up bags for them to pass out themselves.
The response was heartwarming. In four hours all bags were passed out; including a couple who take hot meals out once per week, a man on his bike who takes soup out along the bike trail, a high school student who also makes bags when she can, a homeless man who said he was blessed to have a garage to sleep in but wanted to help others he knows, a number of parents with children who like to be able to pass the bag out the window themselves.
Everyone who picked up the bags expressed deep appreciation for these practical gifts of compassion being provided by their neighborhood church.