There are many articles written each Christmas about the tens of thousands of people who live on the streets or in shelters. Most have some explanation as to why people are suffering and some offer ideas for social change that will correct the injustice that is taking place. I want to celebrate two of the Difference Makers in our area. Not to bring them celebrity (all though well deserved) but to show how a single person with a vision can change the world for people in need. I believe all of these people would tell you it is the support they receive from many people that makes it possible but I would assert that without their vision there would be no focal point to rally around.
Mary Jo Copeland founded Sharing and Caring Hands in 1985. She has worked tirelessly to bring hope to people’s lives and let them know: they’re not walking alone, and God will always be with them. Some of the people on the streets of Minneapolis call her their “street mother.” Most people refer to her as “an extraordinary leader” or an “urban saint.”She is not looking for praise. She knows from experience what it is to live in poverty and she is striving to make the world a better place for the poor today.
Allan Law’s entire life has been consumed passionately and unselfishly serving the poor, vulnerable, disadvantaged youth, and their families. Since 1967 he has volunteered more than 175,000 hours, and has personally spent almost $500,000 serving. Allan is the sole delivery person, and spends every night from 9pm to 10am driving the inner city streets of the Twin Cities in search of people to help. He works overnight because that’s when shelters are closed, and homeless people living on the street are most vulnerable. He also responds to several calls a day 24/7 from people in crisis, with requests ranging from critical immediate needs, to others like help finding a job or temporary housing. Making as many as 50 stops a night, he provides urgently needed food, basic necessities, and compassionate care to hundreds of people from the back of his MRD minivan.
363days.org, is a way for you or your organization to get involved in a real way. You can make sandwiches that will be delivered directly to people in need.
We are all “pebbles in the pond”. Our ripples impact those around us in very real ways. It is when we become intentional about that impact that we can affect real change. When we couple intentional acts with the love, mercy and grace we each received with the greatest of all Christmas gifts, we can each be a difference maker. We can bring real hope and relief to someone who needs desperately to know, they are not alone.
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