Today Sheila, Jean and I decided to take a break from insulating (although we missed being with our homeowners Joe and Gloria) to explore life at the New Orleans Mission, a shelter for the homeless in the downtown area. Although it was a tad intimidating walking in, we were warmly welcomed and put right to work sorting clothes. At lunchtime we had a chance to meet some of the other volunteers, guests and staff and learn about the many services offered – shelter for up to 300 on a cold night, meals, clothing, a recovery Bible study three times a day, and work programs. We were very inspired by the people there and hope to support the mission both by volunteering there again as well as financially. Leaving we were dismayed to see the many homeless who were lying on the sidewalk on blankets and sleeping bags and the disparity between the mission and the luxurious homes we passed in the Garden district on our way back to Chalstrom House.
Tonight we all went to St. Anna’s for worship where we were further challenged by the Gospel regarding the issue of giving to the poor (great preaching down here!) We all left feeling that we were meant to have been there. The rector thanked us (and you) for coming and not forgetting them after so many years. We had first thought of going to Cafe du Monde but since it was pouring rain (better than snow!) we decided to pass. I wonder how the homeless are doing outside tonight….