Written by cycleguy on October 26th, 2014

I live in a small town in the middle of Indiana. Population: about 3500 with the county around 22,000. Quite a bit different from the big cities like Indy, Louisville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and others. As a result, it is easy to close the eyes and say, “Whew! Glad that is not an issue here.” However, no matter how small the city or town; no matter how large the city or town; there is a homeless and hungry situation to be dealt with. I have recently been chosen to be on the board of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce and I guarantee at the next meeting I will ask.

I have my friend Allen Madding to thank for bringing more awareness to me. I mean, I have been aware of the homeless and hungry. One can hardly read the paper or watch the news without having the eyes opened to its reality. I have read of people living under bridges in cardboard boxes, make-shift dwellings, and/or tents. Just within the past year or two the largest city close to Spencer, Bloomington, had hundreds of tent people stake out in a park. Being homeless in Spring, Summer and Fall is one thing. Being homeless in the Winter is just bone-chilling to me.

My friend, Allen, has written a book called Shaken Awake. It is a short but powerful book of 52 pages. Allen sets a scenario for the book by telling of a man who dies (freezes to death) on the doorstep of Peachtree Street Church. He segues into a snow storm which grips Atlanta unawares, causing all sorts of havoc with citizens of all makes and models. The story is interspersed with the response of  Peachtree church which is like so many churches of our day: “dead” and about to close its doors with no outreach at all. Peachtree responds by opening its doors and becoming a shelter.

Allen closes his book by discussing the homeless and hungry situation gripping our country (for obvious reasons). But he also gives some organizations which are trying to be part of the solution. Allen knows whereof he speaks. After a mission trip to Venezuela, he and his wife made themselves more familiar with the homeless/hunger situation where they lived and then did something about it by starting a non-profit called Feed the Hungry Forsyth, Inc. After moving to St. Pete due to a job downsizing, he has become involved with a non-profit called Feed St. Pete.

I am not ashamed to admit some wet eyelids as I read the story. But wet eyelids ain’t worth squat if they don’t lead to action. I plan to investigate what is and can be done here. And you? I suggest you go to Allen’s website and ask for a copy  of his book or visit Amazon on Wednesday and order it there.

Do you have a homeless/hunger situation where you live? Are you doing anything about it?


26 Comments so far ↓

  1. A godly man of influence in the middle of a difficult situation. Yes. May His wisdom and compassion be yours …

  2. the Old Adam says:

    Plenty of homeless here.

    And more than enough extra bedrooms in the Christian’s homes to handle it. Also, enough money here to handle the problem.

    But…we will all go just so far…and no farther.

  3. We do. Our church feeds several hungry families, but it’s really not enough.

  4. Daniel says:

    I donate to the Food Bank here locally during their twice a year drives. I also try to contribute to the drives at our church for the homeless when they come up. I like the fact that you are trying to make a difference in your neck of the woods. That is a good thing.

  5. Ceil says:

    Hi Bill! I have volunteered for overnight shelters around the area for over ten years. What’s sad is that there seem to be more families and women-led families needing a place to sleep and warm meals. We are truly still in a crises from the economic downturn.

    I’ll visit your friend, thank you for introducing us to him.
    PS My daughter lives in the Indy area. I’m there every other month or so. Where is your church?

    • cycleguy says:

      There seem to be more and more of those women-lad families…sadly. Glad you are helping out as you are able. Sent you a private email telling you where the church is.

  6. Ceil says:

    PS Do you know Deb at countingmyblessings.com ?
    I think you’d appreciate her post today.

  7. TC Avey says:

    This sounds like a much needed book- both convicting and inspiring.
    Thanks for telling us about it.

    As I read your post I thought of Suko Family Blog. Caleb is shedding light on the churches in the Ukraine reaching out to those in need as their country is going through a very tough time. It’s sad that it often takes crises to wake the church up.
    I pray America’s churches don’t have to suffer crises before they wake up…what is already happening with those 5 churches in Houston should be shaking every Church in America to it’s core. We must wake up before it’s too late.

    • cycleguy says:

      I can see your point TC about Caleb. How are we going to know the truth unless someone we trust tells us? The media surely won’t. But like you, I do pray that. But at the same time maybe we need the wake up call.

  8. Betty Draper says:

    Growing up we were not homeless but we poor, poor enough that we got free school lunches and Christmas packages from organizations. I became involved in a homeless woman life several years ago. This relationship has kept my heart tender but knowing her situation also has given me wisdom on how to help them. Our church does help the homeless. Thank God for ministries that take on the homeless. It’s easy to see tangible results as their hunger is taken care of.
    Yesterday we were traveling home, stopped for something to eat. As we pulled out across the street there was a women, with a baby in a stroller and a young girl about 7 holding a sign. we did not stop, wish we had. Praying for discernment to guide my compassion for those around me who are in need. Good awareness post brother, thanks.

    • cycleguy says:

      Those are tough situations Betty when you see someone along the side of the road like that. Our local paper found out many of them are scam artists and do very well and don’t really need handouts. Discernment is necessary.

  9. Sharon says:

    We also live in a small town, and the economy mostly relies on tourism, which is flagging. So yes, there are many needy people in our community. Our church is very active in helping out. And, there is a local Help Center which we donate to. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough, but I think doing something is doing more than we realize sometimes.

    We are called to help others – may we be aware of needs and obedient to blessing others as God has blessed us.


  10. I have rarely seen a homeless or hungry person around the area (at least one that was obviously homeless), but it must be a significant problem. I say that simply because there are many ministries in the area serving the hungry and homeless, and they stay quite busy. There are great organizations around my hometown that I’ve had the privilege to serve with at various points. Although this post does make me want to invest in them more and more.

  11. Pam says:

    How to help has been an weighty issue in our last two churches. We don’t want to just feed and house the hungry and homeless; we also want to invite them into a relationship with Jesus. However the agencies we have worked with have not welcomed that aspect of the help we offer. So we are presently trying to discern what God would have us do. There is no easy answer.

  12. Deb Wolf says:

    Great challenge to our churches and to us personally, Bill. It’s so easy to look the other way. Yet, we are called to look with eyes of compassion, tender hearts, and hands that help. Thanks for a great reminder to pay attention and serve the homeless. Blessings to you!