Sunday Extra | Ministries should keep working together

Sunday Extra | Ministries should keep working together

By DOLORES SOFRANKO

The morning after One Winter Night, all the box dwellers were treated to a bountiful breakfast hosted by the volunteers of Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. It was the coming together of two God-centered Ministries that serve the poorest of the poor, the ones we look away from, the ones we avoid on the street ... the homeless.

This was the third time my 14 year-old granddaughter, Sue, and I slept in a refrigerator box since it began six years ago. We could not have asked for a better ending to a predictably cold and comfortless night. As a former volunteer at the soup kitchen, and now as a case manager at C-U at Home, I know how important these two ministries are to our community.

However, seeing them work together to serve the homeless must surely magnify the impact they make on this troubled segment of our population. At Daily Bread, serving a nutritious lunch to hundreds each day is their main focus. However, there is also a walk-in service there, coordinated by Greg Hatch, which offers resources and connections to other agencies in the area.

At C-U at Home, K.J. Monahan, the Phoenix coordinator, serves the homeless who walk into the drop-in center, by working the phones to find services for them and catering to their many needs, which are sometimes very demanding.

Recently, I walked in to find her administering eyedrops to one of our regular guests. And K.J. does everything with warmth, humor and great care. Both ministries have come a long way since Melany Jackson, the first executive director of C-U at Home, first joined the lines for lunch with the homeless at Daily Bread.(She was homeless and living at Restoration Ministries at the time.)

Hopefully, together, theses two ministries will continue to serve the homeless with open-hearted acceptance. And next year, when One Winter Night brings more people to the streets to sleep in boxes, Daily Bread will be ready with another hearty breakfast as a reward. Champaign-Urbana needs both ministries working together to show God's love is alive and working hard to serve God's other children in this great community.

Dolores Sofranko lives in Champaign.