Thursday we will pause as a nation to give thanks for the blessings we have. For some folks giving thanks will be an easy thing to do. For others giving thanks will be difficult, hollow and sad.
It’s hard to give thanks when there is no place to call home. It’s hard to give thanks when the cupboard is bare and the children are hungry. It’s hard to give thanks when you are shivering because you can’t afford the cost of heating. It’s hard to give thanks when the prospects for employment seem darker than winter’s gloom.
In the darkness the cry rings out, “Where are you God?” In life’s darkest times, how can we understand that God is really the only reason we can give thanks?
There is no easy answer to that question, but there is a reason to hope. In the darkness of cold winter nights, a ray of hope will shine brightly. Working together, Plateau Outreach Ministries and the Plateau Ministerial Association will launch two new programs for the Plateau this winter, a weekly hot dinner and a Winter Shelter program.
Beginning in December, each Thursday there will be a hot meal served by various groups in the community. The meal program will be hosted by Calvary Presbyterian with different churches and community groups taking turns to provide meals, similar to Simply Soup at the Senior Center, but designed for families and individuals in need.
Beginning Dec. 1, a freezing nights program, called Winter Shelter, will begin. Churches in the community have come together with POM to launch this program, modeled on a similar program in Puyallup.
A different church will host the program one night a week to provide a warm, safe shelter for homeless neighbors here on the Plateau. Homeless adults and families will be welcomed. A hot meal will be served. Each person will have their own bedding materials that will move from church to church. In the morning, our guests will receive breakfast before leaving for the day. The program is coordinated as a partnership between churches and their volunteers and case management through POM.
Church and community members are invited to participate as volunteers for the program, either helping with transportation, meals, or as volunteer hosts for a night. The need of our neighbors transcends the church and volunteers are welcome regardless of religious affiliation.
Contact POM at 360-825-8961 if you are interested in learning about or helping with the program.
Yes, giving thanks will be a difficult thing for many people to do this Thanksgiving. But because of caring hearts and hands of neighbors reaching out to neighbors in need and the hot meals and warm churches that will be provided, there will be hope in the cold darkness of winter.
The grace and love of God for every person is reason for hope. And in that understanding, I pray we can all give thanks to the one who is always and forever faithful. Blessings for a happy Thanksgiving to all.