In a Dec. 25 article Margaret Renkl reminded us that Christmas is the day we celebrate a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger because there was no room in the inn.
Flashing forward to the many babies and toddlers who today have no home, Renkl finds herself hoping for a day when Christian voters can elect representatives who prioritize feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and finding homes for all of our babies.
We can and must do better by the babies and children among us, because homeless infants and toddlers are enough to make you weep. What Christians need, Renkl says, is a new right-to-life movement:
“One in which we agree to disagree about contentious issues of sexuality and focus instead on what we share, on what we all believe. Jesus had nothing to say about birth control or abortion or homosexuality. He did have quite a lot to say about the poor and the vulnerable, and maybe that’s a good place to start.” (NY Times, Dec. 25, 2017, p. A21)
In all Christian churches, and in all major world religions, our calling is the same: to feed the hungry, heal the sick, protect the weak and house the homeless. And if we can agree on that, and focus on our shared beliefs, we can create a culture of life that leaves no infant and no child hungry and homeless.
Renkl suggests that we can do better by the babies and children here among us, and also do better by their parents and grandparents, trying so hard to keep them fed and clothed and healthy. Our faith tells us to throw open our arms and the doors of our inns. “You who are hungry and hurting and alone and afraid, come inside,” we will say. “You belong here.”
So in that spirit we share the New Year’s wish list from NOAH — New Options for Affordable Housing (NoahCarlislePA.org.). Here’s how you can help:
1. Sponsor a mother and child, grandmother or father experiencing homelessness (help with paying rent and/or utilities or buying diapers, groceries or medicine).
2. Share a spare bedroom or “mother-in-law” apartment in your home with a mother and child, veteran, senior, youth or other individual experiencing homelessness.
3. Help us find affordable apartments or homes for working poor families.
4. Help us to rehab an apartment or home that we can have on loan for a few years to house a family or individual experiencing homelessness.
5. Ask your church, club or colleagues to sponsor a working poor family or individual in your community.
6. Donate a house or apartment that needs a re-hab, or loan it to us for a few years, after which we’ll return it to you better than it was.
7. Provide a secure, dry, safe space to store donated household items — like someone’s garage or shed or part of a warehouse space.
8. Volunteer with Carlisle Community Car Ride Service for people without transportation. Drive folks to job interviews or medical appointments. Email CCCRideService@comcast.net or text 717-254-7620.
For the New Year let’s build together a new right-to-life movement that leaves no child or infant or family without a home. Let’s become the beloved community that cares for and supports all of our families and individuals who need our help to become strong and independent.