"Regardless if you live in the faith or not, what happens each day, every day at UGM is like watching Matthew 25:40 in action."
Last year, right before Thanksgiving, my wife and I traveled down to visit Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul. This is one the local charities (and one of our favorites) we have been partnering with for a few years now. Union Gospel Mission (known to many as UGM), is a full service charity serving those in our community who are truly in need. The purpose of our visit was to drop off some money to help with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and also to donate a large microwave to be used in the men's dormitory kitchen.
We struggled to find a place to park. That was the day folks in need could come in and receive a turkey and a bag of groceries to have on Thanksgiving. That is - if they had a home. Many of the folks who came in that day were just hanging on by their fingernails. Yes, they may have had a home, but had very little money to buy a Thanksgiving dinner. So, through the help of hundreds of volunteers and a boat load of donations, the day of Thanksgiving became a day of "thanks for giving" for thousands of needy families.
While we were in the shelter watching people receive their Thanksgiving meal, I looked at some of the faces. The eyes on many of these folks spoke volumes. Many were very humble as well as thankful when they received their food. There were no "high fives" celebrations or loud talking. Many stood in line silently until they received their food. Then you could hear a soft "thank you" or "God bless". It was a profound experience to watch for so many reasons. People helping people. Strangers helping strangers. And yet is was like family helping family.
UGM also caters to those who need a hot meal served, as they have no way to do it themselves. And UGM serves an extraordinary number of people every day of every year.
For those who have not had the opportunity to visit and chat with a homeless person, UGM can provide you with a most interesting and unforgettable experience. Why? The people that UGM serves, are us. Plain and simple, us. Nobody plans on being homeless. For most, it was never on their radar. Becoming homeless is just one of those speed bumps in the road some folks hit.
We did not get the chance to visit UGM before Thanksgiving this year. I wish we had, but family circumstances prevented it. Hopefully, we will again next year. Meanwhile the volunteers who really make this place go, will be there in large numbers. Greeting and serving, and trying to make this day special.
Many hours are put in and much money is required to make Thanksgiving happen at UGM. Regardless if you live in the faith or not, what happens each day, every day at UGM is like watching Matthew 25:40 in action. Once again I would like to say - Thank you, Union Gospel Mission! Thank you for giving on Thanksgiving!