An Article by Carlee Lammers
The youth of Middletown United Methodist Church held a Homeless for a Night event on Dec. 5-6 to raise awareness of homelessness and hunger not only in the surrounding communities, but across the United States. Approximately 82 children in Middletown live under the poverty level, 1,140 people in Frederick County face homelessness every year, and nationwide as many as 3.5 million people experience being homeless.
After being confronted with these hard facts the youth of MUMC challenged their congregation to make an impact in regards to this immense issue. They started the event off with a door-to-door canned food collection asking for items that were in great need by the Middletown Food Bank. The youth were able to collect over 650 canned food and personal care items.
For dinner they traded in their usual pizza and soda, for a simpler diet of rice and beans, which is very similar to what two-thirds of the world eats on a daily basis. Members of their congregation came to share their own personal testimonies of their experiences with homelessness and hunger. The members shared their eye opening experiences of being out on the streets, stereotyped, cold, hungry, and worst of all lonely and empty.
“(I think) the worst part is the treatment they receive and the emotional pain from knowing that no one wants you- your family, your friends, no one,” said member of MUMC youth group Sayre Posey.
The youth then broke into groups, and each group was given five-dollars to purchase healthy food to feed a family of four for one day. They then realized just how difficult it is to feed a family a healthy meal on such a limited budget.
” It made me realize how quickly you can spend 5 dollars and not even have a full meal, which made shopping really hard,” said MUMC youth group member Meagan Parker.
The whole MUMC congregation raised five-hundred-sixty-dollars to be donated towards heating homes in the local area, packed 142 shoeboxes with Christmas presents for children around the world, and given gifts to men at the Frederick Rescue Mission.
The youth along with their congregation aren’t stopping now. They made plans to continue to raise awareness and be in ministry to the homeless and hungry community.