Church worker. Social worker. Missionary. These are just a few of the things that our residents had dreams about in their younger days. Some of their dreams came true as they aged and some remained aspirations as they lived in the nursing home and assisted living. What many of our residents have in common is the desire to serve and help others, regardless of their age and living situation.
The team of continuing services at Christian City, including Nursing and Rehab, Assisted Living, Pharmacy, Hospice and Home Health, interviewed over 150 residents for their dreams. Some of the dreams were huge, like a vacation to Hawaii, and some were simple such as seeing a baseball game. But one kept coming up in many of the interviews….serving in simple ways and helping others. How could Christian City help to fulfill the dreams of our giving residents?
In Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This is the foundation of our project for our residents. Even though some residents of nursing homes and assisted livings are viewed as less fortunate, this group of residents felt that they have so much to give. When presented with the opportunity to help those in need, the residents jumped at the chance!
We identified that our Maintenance Director has ties with an organization that feeds and ministers to the homeless in Atlanta. Mr. Couch reached out to Broken Pieces Ministry about a partnership. Joel Crumpton, the director of Broken Pieces, thought it was a great opportunity to enrich the lives of our residents as well as the homeless. He interviewed 6 to 8 of the regular homeless people to ascertain their needs and desires. Their desires were simple….a pair of waterproof boots, a bike and to eat a steak again!
Broken Pieces provides a hot meal and ministry service to the homeless of Atlanta every Tuesday and Thursday. This has allowed them to build a relationship of trust and faith with Joel and those that serve with him. Who better to provide a good hot meal to the homeless than Chick-fil-A? Christian City has a good working relationship with the CFA Dwarf House in Fayetteville so the operator was more than happy to help and make a memorable meal for that night.
The thing that many of us take for granted every day appeared to be the most needed item…..shoes! Five of the seven homeless people interviewed needed shoes: 4 pairs of waterproof boots and a good pair of tennis shoes. None of the items were anything elaborate, just the basic needs of someone living on the streets where walking is the main means of transportation. For this need, a local shoe and clothing store, Smith and Davis, was chosen. We took the residents there to shop so they could be involved in choosing the shoes to present to the people.
Homeless people lack the essential items that many of us have around our home. Snack and hygiene bags were prepared by the residents and family members at Christian City to give out. Healthy Smiles Dentistry was more than happy to assist as well! The bags included a toothbrush, toothpaste, snacks, personal wipes, and health and comfort items. Large waterproof shopping bags were purchased and filled with the prepared hygiene bags, ponchos, T-shirts and a Bible. These were given to all 50 homeless people that attended the night of the meal.
On March 8th, the Atlanta Dream Center hosted Christian City residents and staff along with Broken Pieces to share a meal and gifts with the homeless. A service and prayer were conducted to shed light and hope for all. Partners from all entities escorted the residents and assisted them with giving the purchased gifts. The residents felt blessed to give back to those in need.
Flowers and a photo collage were presented to each resident along with a sneak preview of the video to celebrate their dream fulfilled.
These residents of Christian City had a desire to give back to their community. The collective effort that was made to show love to the homeless connected our residents to people who are disconnected from their loved ones and made a statement that every life matters no matter where they may sleep. The Committed to Caring project was our partner’s opportunity to focus on the ministry where our residents dream of helping others. Their dream became our dream of focus on helping the homeless as reflected in the video presentation.