The month of December is here and Operation Silent Night is just around the corner! Yes, after being on hiatus last year, we are once again making plans to return to Washington, D. C. for our annual outreach to the homeless on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Homelessness has increased in DC with over 5,000 people now having no permanent residence. Some slip in and out of shelters if there’s room night after night only to have to check out by 7:00 a.m. Others are sofa surfing from one friend’s house to another. Over 700 sleep unsheltered under bridges, in doorways, or behind memorials.
Last year OSN did not go to DC but we were able to partner with another local ministry called Blue Coats whose mission is to provide warm coats during the winter months for those who have need. Since we were unable to go to DC, we were able to bless Blue Coats with our collection of warm coats, comforters, and a pallet of new boots!
This year, we are partnering with them again. They have offered to us the use of their bus as well as their bus driver and a couple of their regular volunteers who have street experience will be going along with us to DC. As you can see, it was a match made in heaven by God Himself. Many times we have asked you to pray for the bus, and the Lord has provided one!
We are currently busy organizing donations and arranging for food. Plenty of coats and comforters have been collected. A box of 84 hand knit hats arrived from a ladies group at a church in Vermont. A friend in Maine has committed to providing 200 $10 gift cards to McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A. Hygiene kits are being made up. 200 gallon zip locks bags of non perishable snacks were packed yesterday by a team of small and willing hands.
84 pair of thick thermal socks in sizes 10-15 arrived last week from caring friends. We’ve also ordered another 300 more men’s socks and knit beanies so we enough enough for each duffel bag plus extras to hand out individually.(Occasionally we have gotten donations of dress socks, or ones that have the feet worn thin. These are just not suitable for keeping feet dry and warm in winter weather)
The lunch truck has been cleaned, filled with propane and all burners checked and ready. It is waiting to be packed with cookies, hot roast beef sandwiches, chips and hot cocoa. All of the food has been generously donated this year. A shout out to Walnut Creek Cheese, Der Dutchman Bakery,Sam’s Club, and several private individuals. Your thoughtfulness and generosity make this outreach possible.
2 of our team praying with a homeless man
Our team of volunteers so graciously gives of their time and their love to serve on the streets during a holiday when most people are with family. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as we walk the streets we become family to those we meet who for various reasons are not with their own families at this time. In a world that is increasingly filled with fear and anger, our hearts desires are that Jesus will shine through us on this dark and cold silent night.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Pince of Peace.”
May God lead you as you pray about how you can help OSN reach the people on the streets.
Deborah, Sue, and the OSN team
Sue with Jack and his son
Jack knows homelessness well and has been our eyes and ears
on the Washington DC streets for several years
to help bring us together with those who need what we have.
Jack has had many health challenges lately and asks for your prayers.