Homes for the holidays

What does home mean to you? Is it simply the roof over your head? Your life’s savings or investment? Where you raised your children and where your family gathers for the holidays?

Having a place to call home is the pillar of the American Dream and the center of our childhood memories. As the weather turns cold and plans center around festive gatherings, our homes become more precious than ever. And we think of those who are have no place to call home during our iciest and most challenging time of year.

Despite growing up in a fairly affluent county in Northern California, my family is no stranger to homelessness. When there’s expensive rent, five mouths to feed, credit card bills, and trying to keep up with the Jones’ (or Kardashian’s for a younger reader) – everything can get turned upside down quickly when the primary breadwinner loses his job. For a short time while I was in high school, my sisters and I stayed with friends so our parents could get back on their feet when we lost our home.

With “president” and “vice-president” of software companies to his professional credit, time and time again my father was denied positions for being over-qualified. He stayed in a shelter for months so that the money he earned working a retail job could contribute to a small apartment for my sisters, mother and me. Every weekend, we would open the door to groceries left on our stoop, a symbol of the indignity he felt as well as his desperate attempt to care for us in one of the only ways he could.

We were fortunate enough to have family and friends to lean on, beds to sleep in, food in our bellies, and to remain in school. But my story isn’t uncommon nor is it the worst case scenario. With the state of the economy, fewer job openings and more layoffs, families across the country are at risk of losing everything.

Between five and six hundred thousand people are considered homeless at any given timewithout a “permanent, safe, affordable place to live.” Families constitute about one third of all homeless and are the fastest-growing group. The homeless elderly are also an important group as America ages in the next decades.Preventing Homelessness in America

What difference can one person make?

If you’re wondering how you can give back during this season, consider the following organizations and gift options that are close to my heart. You can make life better for individuals and families in need.

  • Homeward Bound of Marin: The Mill Street Center is the county’s only emergency shelter for homeless men and women. Half of the center’s beds are for night-to-night stays, while the other half are for those who are determined to end homelessness in their lives and are working on a personal action plan to accomplish it. >>Give Now
  • Raphael House: As the first shelter for children and families experiencing homelessness in Northern California, they provide an environment of loving support where families can find stable housing and achieve financial independence, while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity. >>Give Now
  • JustGive’s Homes & Jobs Charity Collection: Provide jobs, training, shelter, and homes through four organizations that reverse homelessness and joblessness. >>Buy Collection
  • Search for other organizations helping to end homelessness in your community, nationally and worldwide. Make your gift recurring, something you can be proud of all year long. >>Search Guide

This holiday, as you cozy up to the fire, light the menorah, hang twinkle lights on your roof, and sit down to your dinner table with loved ones… pause and think about ways to share your warmth and light with others. And give what you can to help the homeless find an affordable, safe and secure place to call home.

Do you support a charity that does a great job of helping the homeless? Like us on Facebook and let others know.   


– Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

One thought on “Homes for the holidays

  1. Hello,

    My name is Sis. Happy Powell and I am with the HURST CHAPEL A.M.E. Church and we really need 2 vans to transport our youth to their workshops and conferences out of town. Our church serves our
    community well. We gave Thanksgivings Baskets, We gave toys out to children whose parents are in
    jail. We form basketball teams in order to help keep the young men and teenagers out of trouble through out the community. We have FUN FRIDAYS to give them a positive surrounding.

    I pray that someone will see this and be able to help us so we may be able to continue to serve our own youth and help those that really need it in the community.

    Our church is located in Riviera Beach, Florida 33404. It is 1617 Silver Beach Road. Our Pastor is
    Rev Hudson Williamson and the phone number is 561 845-7579.

    Yours In Christ,
    Sis. Happy Powell

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