I received a great e-mail from one of my regular readers this morning, and am quoting the entire thing here, with her permission. If anyone has ideas to help with the questions she poses in the second half of her message, e-mail me and I’ll put you in touch with her.
Just reading the newsletter of Calvary Church, the Chronicle, and thought your readers might benefit from a bit of the info about their ministry to the homeless done through their HUB.
The HUB gives NO money or anything of monetary value. The volunteers are trained very much in spotting scam artists. They provide help in getting a TN. photo i.d. card, plus SS cards and birth certificates for any state in the nation. This is important for the homeless in getting them into shelters, when they get stopped by the police, etc.
The HUB is also an oasis from hot or cold weather, a place to get a cup of coffee, water, fruit, reading material, informational resources, lockers for up to 30 days. No services are duplicated to the homeless by any other ministries. Calvary Church has years of experience in dealing with panhandlers and the homeless, and runs a very organized, tight ship.
Volunteers and donations are needed. The HUB is located at 146 Jefferson next to the Chinese restaurant. It is open Mon-Wed-Fri from 1:00 to 4:00.
I sure do wish a comprehensive brochure that details all the resources for the homeless located in the downtown area could be prepared and distributed all over downtown, to the businesses and restaurants and hotels, and given out by the Blue Suede crew to people they see giving money to panhandlers. This could be a brochure similar to the ones put out by the 12-step groups that show all the places and times of meetings. I think this would help visitors to Memphis realize these people do not need their money.
I also wish there were some signs placed at trolley stops, near hotels, etc. that state in plain English, large letters, “Do not give money to the panhandlers. There are plenty of places downtown where they can get water, shelter, help. They are usually NOT homeless. Support the downtown charities.”
Who would be the go-to person to get these things accomplished, in your opinion? Is there something like this already in existence? Thanks, Paul!