Day 31

Act 31: Hope for the Homeless
by Ed Walker
How do we handle our hearts with those who are homeless? If we live in cities or towns, it can become all too easy to blank out the same faces we see day after day. And the question nags at us: surely there’s more we can give than 50p here and there? Today, we’re looking into the more that’s possible.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:14–18 NIV)

Choose how to complete this act…
GREEN OPTION:Donate £2 to a local or national homelessness charity. You can use to search for a charity near you and give online.
YELLOW OPTION:Call your local homeless shelter, and ask if there’s anything that they need. Then go and meet that need.
Invite a homeless person to your church, or to a local soup kitchen. Go along with them. If they need a lift, offer to give them one. If you feel uncomfortable doing this alone, do it in pairs or triplets with others from your church or community.

I am reminded of the time that my previous church set up a soup kitchen. It’s in the Black Country, between Walsall and Wolverhampton and an area of great deprevation. It’s a few years ago now but one church member suggested that we do something to help those on the streets. So we decided to open the church hall to them and offer coffee and toast and soup. The first session or two, I and a couple of others, scoured the town centre and almost dragged people in off the streets for a free drink and toast etc. I encouraged the group of lay people who grew into a brilliant team, headed up by a retired nurse who had been the lead for psychiatric services in Accident & Emergency. So she knew how to handle the more challenging behaviour. By the time I left last year the church was open twice a month on Saturday mornings offering food, clothing toiletries and other necessary items to people who were either homeless, sofa-surfing, or on very low incomes, or indeed just needed some company. One Saturday they have a full meal (which many turn up for at 9.30am) and the other Saturday it is just toast. All the food is donated and cooked by church members, and friends of church. The local Asda also donates food and the Rotary offer help too. At one point it was so busy and had grown so much that it became too much for the volunteers and had to close for a while (prompted by a syringe found by a child in the toilets one Sunday morning). But to their credit they re-opened, scaled down a bit. I feel proud to have been part of it – just goes to show what can happen when a church leader encourages people to go with a project and see what happens when God is involved.

I am now in a rural setting, where I am sure there is some poverty. One of my villages is certainly not rich having housed mill workers over many years and now employees of JCB (the diggers), plus of course others. I do not think that homelessness is an issue, but I will do what I can to determine where the needs are as I am ex officio trustee of 2 local charities and ensure that funds are available to those in need. In the short term, I think all I can do for today’s challenge is give to a homeless charity. I already give to one (Shelter) so I may just send them an extra gift.

Thank you to you all for reading this and for your encouraging comments. They are keeping me going through Lent. I am finding it difficult, but determined to get through and do something each day, even if it is not quite what is set. I usually fail in my Lenten disciplines and want this year to be different.

May God bless you all in your Lent 40 Acts.


  1. Hi Liz,

    That’s a very encouraging testimony 😊
    I am going to think about how to fulfil this one on the train home from Mum’s.

    If I don’t come up with something I am going to buy some tins for my local Foodbank or some feminine care items to stop period poverty. It still helps people at breaking point 😊

    May your day be blessed. I am determined to finish and complete everything. Those I have connected with over Lent have helped keep me on track.


  2. You’re right about how encouragement & comments help us to keep going. Your story of how the soup kitchen/meal provision grew so quickly shows the need that there is. And the poverty isn’t (as you say) just for “the homeless” – I’m sure there are many people living below the breadline in your parishes – zero hours contracts, living hand-to-mouth. It’s just trying to find the best way to help, sometimes, that is hard!


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