PRLog - July 24, 2012 - SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- Sometimes radical hospitality takes shape as a birthday party in the park to celebrate a homeless person and impart the message: “I am glad you were born.” That’s what the annual Homeless Birthday Party does for about 300 homeless men, women and children each year.
A homeless couple is waiting for the party to begin
In Deuteronomy 15, Moses describes God’s desire that the abundance He gives to the Israelites be shared with the poor living among them. The July 12th event was a contemporary picture of that kind of divine giving and sharing.
Churches, small groups, families and individuals came together on or before Thursday to assemble birthday boxes, crochet washcloths, count and sort all of the items that would be given freely to anyone who asked. Spring Hills Church hosted the lunchtime fare that included kielbasa, grilled cheese burgers, and the requisite birthday cake.
This year, Comfort of Joy, a local street ministry, hosted a snack tent that supplied hot chocolate, coffee, yogurt, and fruit to the waiting guests both before and during the birthday event. Free shoes and other clothing items were laid out on a tarp in neat rows and street people politely selected the items they needed, being certain to leave something for someone else.
Several community service organizations were available to answer questions about their services or opportunities for the homeless and needy. Below their displays of foods with high sugar and fat, beautiful fresh vegetables such as red peppers and squash were available for the taking at the St Joseph Health table.
Outside of these organized pockets of giving the local street people wandered with birthday boxes tucked under their arms. The foot spa area, along with the haircut tent, was a huge success. People who spent hours standing on their feet or walking miles really appreciated the cool lavender scented water and fresh clean socks. And we all know how good it feels to have our hair combed or the freedom of a shaved head for summer. The smiling faces told the story in ways that words could not.
“I got my hair cut, my beard trimmed, my feet massaged. I’m in heaven,” said Craig, a homeless Santa Rosa man.