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Beyond Grace – a homeless woman’s story – January 16, 2018

By Tim O’Neill, director of operations

Two weeks ago during our Friday lunch meal to the community, I met a lady named Grace. She is a middle-aged woman who wears a stocking cap with long braids woven down each side and a warm smile in between them.

She approached me and said, “Thank you again for the warm blankets you guys gave me. They are a real blessing.”  I asked if she was keeping warm in the extremely cold weather. Her response alarmed me.  She explained, “I stay in a box van and the blankets keep me very warm at night.”

The expression on my face must have said it all, because she added, “Don’t worry, I lock the door each night.”

I asked Grace why she was not in a warm shelter. Her reply was simple, “I don’t like being cramped inside with others and I want to be alone.”  She reassured me that she would be fine and was grateful for all she had.

When I looked at her coat and gloves, I knew we could do more to help her.  Over the last few weeks, many of you donated generously to make sure all of our guests and resident men had coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and blankets!

In our storage area and I found Grace a new thermal coat, more gloves, and even a sleeping bag!  She was so surprised and grateful!

Grace’s warm smile as she left was not enough to warm my heart, knowing that there was still one person out in the cold tonight that night.

For whatever reason there are some individuals choose not to come to a shelter and instead live in tents, doorways or vans.  All we can do is encourage them to consider shelter during extreme weather and provide them with warm supplies.  The greatest thing we can do is to warm them with the love of Christ and hope they will seek Him.

Please keep Grace and other homeless people in your prayers on these cold winter nights.

Thank you for your generous support to help the many different people we serve at Refuge of Hope!