By Tammy Tran
Since our last article on our homeless mission, we have continued to grow with the grace of God. We would like to update you on our homeless Bible study.
I’ve done many outreach from assembly line of putting goods together, serving Thanksgiving meals, passing out supplies at skid row, winter shelter at my parish, but nothing prepared me for a close up encounter with the community relations with St. Joseph Retreat Center.
I went to help pass out supplies with the homeless community under the bridge between Boyle and 8th street. There was a small community about 8-10 people who called it their home pitching up their tents. My initial encounter was that I was afraid to touch them and thought what bad air quality to be living above the freeway.
Later I met with the Good Samaritan group that meets every Thursday and once a month they held a potluck to include our brothers and sisters on the streets. I can see that they were nervous to enter the green building located on 4th and Soto street. There was an after-school program at the Boys & Girls club. We set up so it was a nice sit down where folks brought items for potluck. We got to know our brethren in a more personal level. Outside their comfort zone and into our community. We started with an opening prayer there was soft music playing in the background. Afterwards we read Sunday’s gospel a few times, broke out into small groups and shared some faith based questions related on the gospel. Afterwards we reconvene as a whole group and had a share out. Afterwards food was served. They were very grateful and even took a plate to go.
Overall, my encounter with the homeless with St. Joseph hospitality was unique and personal. I got to really get to know the community we are serving on a one on one basis; hear their stories, struggles, hopes and outlook in life. Each time I go out to the community I’m left with a deep gratitude for the roof over my head, food in the fridge, car, family, health, comfort. I go to sleep at night and bring to mind my friends who are on the streets especially when it rains or frigid nights. I hope that we can all have a chance to encounter our marginalized brothers and sisters who just want the basics that we take for granted and be seen.