For a few years I have featured articles regarding December 21st as Homeless Memorial Day. This year, like years past, on the longest day of the year, many organizations across the country, including The Journey Home of CT (http://www.journeyhomect.org/index.html) will memorialize persons, citizens of this country, who died on the streets or in a shelter to call a home.
In Hartford, between 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at Center Church, in downtown Hartford, a service is will be held. In Baltimore City, Inner Harbor Amphitheatre, a 5:30 pm service will be held (contact Healthcare for the Homeless, Adam Schneider for more information at 410-215-8319) where 103 names will be called who died in the city streets.
Why have these services year after year? Not just to bring attention to homelessness, but to bring to light the dire needs of our communities in one of the richest countries of the world - we have peoples of our own without the necessary income, food, and shelter to live every day. The services bring meaning to the lives of the persons who many have forgotten, including family members who grew tired of the multiple issues these persons faced daily to survive on the streets. No one is a friend to the poor - except many of us who have walked the long road of homelessness of some sort, including living on someone's couch, or rooming with a friend. Nothing is more vulnerable in these times than not having a place to lie down in safety. The services bring meaning to the humanity all around us suffering and the personal suffering of each person before they died. They deserve a proper remembrance as God's creation.
I pray each of you reading this article will find time to pray with and for your neighbors who have many of the needs mentioned here and who need our help, prayers and support. Please consider attending a memorial service in your community. You can check www.google.com and type in "homeless memorial service" and your town's name for a celebration memorial service in your area. Also, please consider donating a financial gift or tangible food items to food banks and other organizations supporting those in need this Christmas.
God bless you,
Verinda M. Birdsong, Homeless Examiner