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    Our Calling – An outreach to the homeless in Dallas, TX

    For every one homeless person in a shelter four others live on the streets
    For every one homeless person in a shelter four others live on the streets

     By Ashley Scarbrough

    Life on The Streets

    “If the church does not go, they will always be lost and never be found.”- Wayne Walker, Executive CEO at OurCalling

    Across the street drug deals go down and prostitutes wait for a trick. Behind the building, a guy jumps in a dumpster to grab recyclable cans. Each night men and women sleep under the bridges to avoid the southern heat.

    No matter the circumstances, hope can tear down the barriers and offer some rest. OurCalling drives out to meet, serve, and invite these men and women to the facility for food, water, Bible study, and a visit to the warehouse. It is not so much about getting them off the streets, as it is about the restoration business—restoring lives, bringing hope, and teaching life skills.

    While many organizations provide shelter, OurCalling does something no homeless organization in Texas does: search-and-rescue missions.

    Wednesday morning they load the van and check the water sources, sewers, convenient stores, dumpsters, and bridges to find the homeless men and women. Once they find a group, they pull over. As the volunteers gather information, the homeless men and women gather various resources from the back of the van.

    Photo2 copy
    Behind the van, volunteers pass out food, water, and a resource booklet as they start relationships with the homeless.

     

    While most grandmothers might spend their Saturdays baking cookies, four-year volunteer and grandmother, Lois, goes out on the streets to hang out with her homeless friends. By a vacant warehouse, Lois steps out of the van to talk with her friends living in the tents scattered in the field. One of the men, James, attends Our Calling events and introduces Lois to the rest of the group. As they avoided the sun under the tree, Lois got to hang out and get to know the others.

    “I just love to talk with the people. I am always amazed about how much I relate with them,” Lois shared.

     You can’t rescue, but you can search. OurCalling goes to the tunnels, abandoned cars, behind crack houses, and under bridges to build friendships, meet them where they are at, and invite them out to the facility.

    Homeless men and women resort to puddles, sewers, and hoses for their sources of water. At each search-and-rescue mission, the men and women receive a bottle of clean water.

    An Afternoon in the Café

    The café is all about one thing: investment. Iron sharpens iron. The coffee is poured and the conversations are stirred. The games are played, the food is shared, and the relationships begin. The volunteers sit, relax, and invest in the lives of the homeless men and women who come in for the day. Bible studies, life skills classes, and 12 Step Addiction Recovery classes all happen here in order to build long term friendships. Hope drips into their lives, as everyone begins to let down their walls, and share their stories. 

    Most homeless men and women hold to pagan, Wicca, or Pentecostal beliefs. In the café, the volunteers take the time to share some coffee, hear these stories, and invest in others.
    Most homeless men and women hold to pagan, Wicca, or Pentecostal beliefs. In the café, the volunteers take the time to share some coffee, hear these stories, and invest in others.

    A Trip to the Warehouse

    While the warehouse provides an opportunity for hundreds of homeless men and women to do laundry, take a shower, and even get some new clothes and shoes, many of the homeless apply to serve as volunteers, known as Disciples on the Streets.

    OurCalling, Warehouse Manager, Mannika (left, seated), calls numbers over the intercom so men and women can shower, use the bathroom, do some laundry, and receive various supplies.
    OurCalling, Warehouse Manager, Mannika (left, seated), calls numbers over the intercom so men and women can shower, use the bathroom, do some laundry, and receive various supplies.

    One of the Disciples on the Streets, Renee ran away as a teenager and stumbled into a thirty-five year drug addiction, keeping her tied to the street way of life. While most Disciples on the Streets still live on the streets, Renee now lives in her apartment and continues to serve at OurCalling in the warehouse.

    “It took me 35 years to become clean,” Renee remarked. Now she serves at OurCalling, attends Bible studies, and gets to end each night at her new apartment.
    “It took me 35 years to become clean,” Renee remarked. Now she serves at OurCalling, attends Bible studies, and gets to end each night at her new apartment.

    Homelessness is not the problem, but only a symptom. Without building a community of faith, even the best resources are a waste of time. From the wall to the streets, OurCalling steps into the restoration business to share a lasting hope and grace found in Christ. “The bottom line is that we give grace as much as He gives us” – Wayne Walker

    Homeless in Dallas:

    • Our Calling has participated in the decrease of homelessness in the city of Dallas this past year.
    • Women on the streets are assaulted approximately twice per week.
    • Most homeless women are victims of sex-trafficking in the area.
    • It is difficult for homeless men and women to obtain jobs in the area because of the growing population of Hispanics.

      The City of Dallas reports a lower rate of chronic homelessness for the year of 2014 thanks to the dedication of OurCalling and other organizations.
      The City of Dallas reports a lower rate of chronic homelessness for the year of 2014 thanks to the dedication of OurCalling and other organizations.
    • Most men and women become homeless because of a traumatic event that occurred before they reached the age of ten.
    • For every one homeless person in a shelter there are four on the street.

    Most homeless men and women have some association with paganism, Wicca, or Pentecostal practices.

    Our Calling Wish List:

    • Become a mentor and meet one-on-one with the homeless men and women
    • Volunteer in the warehouse and cafe
    • Donate supplies to the warehouse
    • Donate food and drinks for the café
    • Bring your youth group, church, or group of friends to volunteer on a Search and Rescue Mission.

     

    Visit http://www.ourcalling.org for more information. Photos taken by: Ashley Scarbrough

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