About six months ago, the Mercer Island Clergy Association was holding meetings with representatives from Tent City 4 as plans were being developed to welcome the homeless shelter on Mercer Island. As information was shared about the specifics of the encampment, I noticed one of the women, a resident of Tent City, writing a two-page list, which she then handed to me. The titles of the lists were “Needs List Personal” and “Needs List Kitchen.” There were over 25 items on each list — items that she identified as most commonly lacking in the Tent City camp. I tucked these lists in my folder and now see the reason why.
The residents of Tent City are making an effort to keep themselves safe as they strive to achieve the financial stability that would enable them to acquire permanent housing. Those of us on Mercer Island who want to support them in their journey can meet these tangible needs. We can also offer our prayers that they will feel God’s love, direction and care, no matter what type of shelter they live in. The love of God embraces and encircles all of us, providing the deepest and most permanent sense of home that we can find.
When a community welcomes Tent City 4, they agree to provide as many hot dinners for the 100 residents as possible. The members of the Clergy Association acknowledged this responsibility and spread the word throughout their congregations to enlist willing workers to fulfill this obligation.
As I write this, there are only seven dates to be filled for preparing dinners for Tent City. All of the others are provided by churches, synagogues and other civic groups and individuals. It is heartening to see this outpouring of community support for Tent City, even before it arrives at the United Methodist Church on Mercer Island.
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