I volunteer at a pregnancy resource center. The majority of our clients are between the ages of 14-25. Most have not graduated from high school. Most of their parents had them when they were teenagers also. Most work at McDs or BK. A lot of them get kicked out of their house when their parents find out they are pregnant. A lot of them were already living on a friend’s couch. Homelessness seems to go hand in hand with unplanned pregnancy.
A part of our service to these young women is to provide them resources. If they need food stamps or food we tell them where to go get it. If they need professional counseling we offer referrals. If they need housing we tell who to call. Unfortunately lately, many, many people are looking for housing. Many teens with babies. Many young, young people with no place to go with tiny babies.
Today we had a woman come in who had 3 children. She is single. She has a job. She has a car. She has no home. She was living with another family until an abusive situation arose between the other couple. Because she is not being abused some shelters turned her down. Other shelters were already full. One charity simply gave her a list of places to call to which she had already called most and been turned down. Her children had stayed as long as they could at the crisis nursery. She decided to break into her savings and get her air conditioning fixed in her car so they could stay in the car until she found some place to stay.
I called around a dozen churches this afternoon trying to find someone to help her. No one had a place for her to stay. Someone suggested a church family take them in but could not give a specific name other than me. None of the churches that I left messages for returned my phone calls by the end of the work day. 4 churches did have a benevolence program as outreach in that they would help out with utilities, rent, gas, etc after an interview and an application process. The rest of the churches either did not have a benevolence program in place or only took care of their church members.
I get that you have to be careful of those taking advantage of the system. I get that everyone is hurting under our current economic situation. I totally get we need to bust up the system and empower people instead of enabling them. But I have to admit, I’m shell shocked. I was already getting pretty disillusioned about organized religion. Today I’m sick to my stomach. Something has gone terribly wrong.
What has happened to Love God Love Others? What has happened to seeking and saving the lost? What has happened with Jesus coming not to save those who were well but those who are sick? What has happened to when I was naked you clothed me, when I was hungry you fed me, when I was imprisoned you came to me? What is going on in the world? Why does it seem like the church is cowardly shirking away from its responsibility to social justice? Why does it look like the church is closing its doors and isolating itself from the world? Why does it seem they are turning the backs on the hurting and lost? Why does it seem like they are saying “it sucks to be you.”?
All afternoon as I was growing increasingly frustrated I just kept hearing these words in the back of my mind. “For such a time as this.” What these words mean at this point I have no idea. I am so sad. I am angry. I have to figure out what I can do.