On November 30, 2016 I posted this on my Facebook wall:
Darrel just walked in, soaked to the bone. “If I wasn’t a big man I’d be bawling my eyes out,” he said. He’s homeless. In an effort to help another homeless camper cross a raging run off of rain water, he fell into water up to his armpits. He walked in dripping wet. We gave him a cup of coffee, a couple of t-shirts and a pair of gym shorts and some underwear, but everything else he has is ruined; tent, blankets, shoes, everything. If you’re by the downtown area today and have anything you could share with Darrel, we’ll make sure he gets it. #coffeecommunitychange
The response Darrel received was overwhelming! He sat at a table at Cadence most of that day, and people stopped by and literally piled stuff up on his table. I watched over the days that followed, how Darrel’s life was impacted by random strangers showing him kindness. It truly was a beautiful site.
Last week, I received this email from Michelle Hubbs who works with Pastor Barry Kidwell and Mustard Tree Ministries:
Thank you so much to all those who helped us help Darrell! As you may know, Darrell ended up homeless through no real fault of his own. He was in need of housing, but due to his disabilities, he could not obtain the gainful employment necessary to obtain housing. Darrell was becoming disheartened, but through community support like yours, he began to be encouraged.
We were able to introduce Darrell to a couple in Ooltewah who found themselves in need of a caretaker for their horses; the only thing they could afford to offer as pay was free room and board in an attached apartment. Talk about a match made in heaven! Darrell now not only has stable, secure housing, but he has friends and fellowship. He and the couple have become friends and he attends church with them every Sunday.
Darrell’s journey is not over yet. He is still waiting on approval for his disability, and he requires assistance with travel in order to conduct his daily affairs. We, here at Mustard Tree, would love to bless Darrell with an efficient, used car so that he can take care of his own needs without requiring assistance. We are seeking donations for either a used car (if someone would love donate one we will happily give them a tax receipt) or for monetary donations that we can save up and use to purchase him an efficient used car.
Again, thank you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ. Your love brought a man back from the pit of despair and set his feet upon The Rock!”
Have you heard the story of the little boy, who was seen throwing starfish back into the ocean, that had been washed ashore after a terrible storm. A jogger along the beach, stopped the boy and asked what he was doing, and the little boy replied, “I’m saving these starfish.” The jogger looked around and saw hundreds laying on the shore, and in a moment of disbelief told the little boy, “you’ll never save all of them!” The little boy picked up another starfish and threw it back in the ocean, then turned to the jogger and said, “I saved that one.”
Some would say I’m foolish for believing that we can end homelessness in Chattanooga. But when I think of Darrel, and Tim, and Sarah, and George, I’m reminded of that little boy on the beach and the starfish and I’m determined to walk back into my little piece of downtown today, asking God to help us help just one more person.
Thanks for helping us help others.