The New Year typically brings new hope. We feel as though we are embarking on a new beginning. We can wipe the slate clean and start over again. There’s a lot to hope and pray for in 2009.
Number one on my wish list is a positive economic outlook. The magnitude and impact of the current economy has been shocking. The record amount of home foreclosures and massive job layoffs across all industries have resulted in a huge number of people finding themselves in a situation they have never been in before: homeless, hungry and needy. We’re seeing a lot more people who are coming to the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) for food and shelter. The numbers of “working homeless” have increased. We see people who line up for meals while wearing their work clothes. What a heartbreaking sight! They have never known this type of lifestyle and they stand humbly, but are certainly hurting inside. Additionally, there are more families who need help with food and securing a warm place to stay.
The perception has long been that the number of homeless and hungry seeking shelter and food intensifies when the weather turns cold. But now, in this economy, it is no longer only a winter occurrence. It’s not seasonal anymore. All year long, our beds at DRMM are 100 percent filled. On many days, all of our 250 shelter beds will be taken by 3:00 p.m. Yet there’s another 300 people waiting outside, hoping to get a place to stay, food to eat, and a place to shower. So we improvise the best we can by placing extra mattresses on the floor and providing chairs to sit and sleep in.
If I can offer just one major resolution for 2009, it’s “Don’t Give Up.” This too shall pass. Things will get better. In the meantime, remember that the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and its caring staff are here 24/7, 365 days a year to help in these difficult times.