Saturday, October 22, 2011

donate boots for the needy in minnesota

Winter is right around the corner. I live in the Midwest and I can feel the cold, brisk air already. I grew up in Minnesota, the state that holds the record for coldest temperatures in the United States. I remember stepping outside to go to the hockey rink down at the park when I was a kid; within seconds my boogers froze! Yes, it was THAT cold! I remember stepping into the warming house after an hour or two on the outdoor rink and I remember my feet stinging as they thawed out. The pain was so acute it would sometimes make me cry!

To prepare for the cold, this next week I'll take a box out of our closet marked "WINTER CLOTHES". It's a big box. It's stuffed with sweaters and coats. And, in the bottom of this box, I have a pair of nice boots to keep my feet warm and dry as I trudge through the snow. For most Midwesterners, coping with the bitter temperatures simply involves unpacking a box like this or rearranging their closets or making a trip up to the attic or down to the basement.

But put yourself in someone else's shoes now, literally. What if you happen to be a Minnesotan and you don't have a life like this? What if you are, literally, homeless. That's right: no closet, no attic, no basement, no storage space. And no box labelled "WINTER CLOTHES" and, of course, no boots to wear.

What if, instead, all you have are a pair of beaten up, old tennis shoes? Or worse: a pair of slippers? I have literally seen this, by the way. An old homeless man trudging through the snow (yes, snow!) in slippers because he didn't have any boots to put on his feet--until a group of people took it upon themselves to wash someone else's feet by donning them with some nice boots.

Early December last year the church I serve as a coach for called Communitas Twin Cities supported an initiative spearheaded by Jesus Delivers (now called Mobile Action Ministries) to provide boots for some friends without homes just outside the Dorothy Day center in downtown St. Paul.

Here's how it works: people like you and me donate money to Mobile Action Ministries so they can buy truckloads of boots to give away the beginning of December, before winter gets extremely harsh. (By the way, when I say "truckloads" I mean it. Last year at least 240 people were given a pair of boots.)

By mid-November they need to place the order. Homeless folks are signing up for free boots now and Mobile Action Ministries is taking down their boot size so they are sure to have the right size on handout day. But they need to know how many they can order, so this is where your generosity comes in:

The boots are 42 dollars each. If you'd like to donate a pair of boots (or two or three pair!) simply mail a check to...

Communitas Twin Cities
749 Bellwood Ave
Maplewood, MN 55117

make checks payable to: Mobile Action Ministries

All gifts are tax deductible.

To see some pictures from last year's event, click here.

To read more about last year's event, click on these links.

Boots for the needy
Loaves and fishes and boots

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