I started this blog to write about sewing or crafting projects, but I’m beginning to see that I need to use it for more. I am still enjoying (and learning on the job, so to speak) sewing and crafting. I haven’t found much time to do it lately but am hoping to resolve that soon. I took on a Sewing Buddy through Whipstitch’s Sewing Buddy Match! So, hi Jocelyn! She’s got her hands completely full with three sweet boys and a husband who’s a Marine! We’ll be comparing sewing notes, and I’m sure you’ll see some of those projects here.
So, while I’m still going to post about sewing and crafting, I’m also going to start writing about other things that are important to me. In particular, I’m privileged to be working with several non-profit groups that are offering hope to people.
The first is LAMP (Lowndes Associated Ministries to People). LAMP is a multi-faceted agency in Valdosta, Georgia, that works to help alleviate homelessness and poverty. Quite frankly, I had no idea that LAMP even existed two years ago. (Thank you Leadership Lowndes for educating me as to what was just out my backdoor!)
While touring the LAMP shelter, I noticed baby bottles which had been washed and left to dry on the side of a sink in a group bedroom. At any other time in my life, this probably would not have hit me dead in the stomach like it did this day. I had just that morning done the same thing – washed baby bottles for my baby girl and left them to dry. The people in this shelter are no different than me. These children are no different than mine – learning to crawl, learning to walk, or learning to read. At that point, I knew that when offered the opportunity I would jump at the chance to work with LAMP.
People think that homelessness and poverty are strictly urban problems; this could not be farther from the truth. By the numbers, here’s what LAMP did last year for our area:
- 6,941 families fed through our food pantry
- 360 families assisted with rent and utilities
- 820 individuals housed in our shelters
- 59,807 meals served in our shelters
- 24,723 bed nights provided
- 424 families provided healthcare assistance
- 752 children received school clothes and supplies
- 200 families given complete Thanksgiving meals
In addition, LAMP provided outreach to migrant worker camps, food drops to critical high-risk poverty areas, assisted displaced individuals in connecting with social services for which they qualify. Our shelter is the only one in all of south Georgia and north Florida that is able to accommodate fathers seeking shelter with children (other facilities can only take families if the mother is present). This ability to keep families together makes us unique.
I’m in awe of what the staff and volunteers at LAMP make happen on a shoestring. You’d be amazed at what they can do with very little! Lives are truly changed for the better. LAMP gives people the gift of self-reliance, the promise of an independent life, and hope for a better and brighter future. The services LAMP provides are a matter of life and death for some people.
LAMP’s next big event is Homeless 4 A Night. It’s a county-wide all nighter designed to bring awareness to homelessness and poverty in our area. I won’t be able to spend the night out because I’ve got small kids. Even if you don’t camp our, there are still plenty of ways to participate. I want my kids, even as young as they are, to begin to realize that we have an obligation to help minister to “the least of these”. Come and be a part!
For more information on LAMP or Homeless 4 A Night, contact me or visit http://h4n.lampinc.org/. We are always looking, to steal a phrase from the United Methodist Church, for people to give of their prayers, their presence, their gifts and their service. Whether you believe in serving God or building up karma, working with LAMP gives back to you what you put in ten-fold.
Next up: CF Riders!