During Lent, St. John the Baptist Parish parishioners encouraged the community to help them feed the hungry, one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. They are now asking for the community to help close out the year of Mercy by sheltering the homeless.

There are no homeless shelters in Warrick County, so the people at St. John’s have identified four shelters in Evansville to help. They are: House of Bread and Peace, United Caring Shelters, Albion Fellows Bacon Center and Ozanam Family Shelter. Each shelter meets a different situation in our community.

Some of the needs include gift cards of $5 to $10 from Target or Walmart, as well as gas cards. They also need hair conditioner, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, personal hygiene items, lotion, underwear, slippers, small packs of Kleenex, socks, alarm clocks, blow dryers, batteries, sheets and mattress covers, size three to five diapers and gift cards where students can purchase school supplies.

Think about what you would need if you walked out of your house with only the clothes you have on. You may not have even grabbed your purse or billfold. It is a scary thing to think about. It gets even scarier when the temperatures begin to drop.

Jason Cox of Poverty Living reported ten reasons for homelessness. Many are obvious, such as they work but do not earn enough to pay a deposit for an apartment or pay the rent. Sometimes there is a financial crisis that forces people to leave their homes, such as medical emergencies or the loss of a vehicle due to a breakdown.

Divorce is also a great divide for many. Mental illness can cause homelessness due to expensive treatments, which they forego and then are not able to hold a job.

Drug addiction, disabilities, domestic violence, tragedies such as losing a family member and natural disasters are all contributing factors to homelessness.

In a community where we have so much, let’s come together and help a local church help others in need.

Wish lists for all of the shelters are available on Collection Crates in the Narthex of St. John the Baptist Church or at sjbnewburgh.org.

Purchase the items listed and drop them off in the marked crates.

The collection wraps up on Nov. 6, so that the items will be delivered to the shelters in time for the busy holiday season.

Here are some facts to keep in mind: 27 percent of the homeless in America are children; 7.4 percent of the people in America will experience homelessness at some point in their life; up to two million people in one year will be homeless; and there are four times as many animal shelters in the U.S. as there are shelters for women.

As we prepare for the holidays, let us be thankful for all that we have.

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