A homeless man recently died here in Anderson.  A friend of a friend.  It hurt to hear that this had happened.  It hurt even more to learn that he likely would be alive had he only been “rescued” hours earlier instead of “discovered” too late.  Unfortunately, homelessness lives in our own back yards.  Whether you see it or not in the course of your daily routes around town, it exists.  You might not recognize it if it doesn’t look like a tattered and tired “street” person sitting in a cardboard box under the viaduct.  Sometimes it takes another form.  Maybe it looks like a young Mother and her child who travels from family member to family member because she has no place to call her own.  Perhaps it’s the guy who sneaks back into work after everyone else leaves, so he will have a place to sleep.  Perhaps it’s someone you’ve passed on the street.  And you never knew.

Anderson University’s Baptist Campus Ministries teamed up with Family Promise to coordinate Homeless For The Homeless, an event to raise awareness and funds for homelessness in Anderson.  Family Promise is an organization committed to reducing homelessness for children and families in Anderson County by uniting local congregations through an Interfaith Hospitality Network to provide shelter, food, and the necessary tools needed for the families to regain their independence. 

The Homeless For The Homeless event began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday morning when Disaster relief of Spartanburg serves breakfast.  Overnight, participants lived the homeless experience…no electronics, no phones, no food.  Some slept indoors because of the rain, but some stayed outdoors as planned.  After all, homeless folks don’t have a choice when it rains.  While there, they took part in informational games on homelessness, fellowshipped with each other and worshipped together.  When “lights out” time came at midnight, it should have become even more real for them.  And quiet.  In their cardboard boxes.  Quiet enough to really think about what it’s like to be homeless and how they can help.  I pray they all had a rewarding experience and that they left in the morning even more fired up to fight homelessness!   afs

**also be sure to visit the Upstate Homeless Coalition’s site for more information on the state of homelessness in the upstate area of SC

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participants as they begin to prepare their boxes for the night

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some of the many cardboard box homes for a night

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organizer Russ Bennett and others as they film participants

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participants as they were being filmed forming the word "HOPE"

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