It was during this Tuesday night outreach that Sophie and I started talking about how we might join forces and merge my interest in additional follow-up activity with our homeless friends (finding that once-a-week did not maximize opportunities to really get to know them and help them take action) with her existing blog called Faces of the Homeless. She expressed that she, too, felt like this could become something more…
So, we are very excited to launch Faces of the Homeless, Inc. and have also welcomed Paul Siktberg to our group!
At the present time we have incorporated with the State of Indiana as a nonprofit corporation and have filed our Form 1023 with the IRS to obtain tax-exempt status. We also have a fundraising page established at http://www.gofundme.com/facesofthehomelessinc
For all of my adult life I have felt a burden on my heart for those in the community who are experiencing homelessness. Approximately ten years ago I volunteered with Outreach, Inc – an organization that serves homeless and at-risk youth in Indy – where I had my first experience of actually going out on the street and in less-traveled areas tucked-away where we hoped to find (and help) kids who had no place else to call home. I did that for a while and then, unfortunately, let other demands of life occupy my time. But I never lost the pull to this type of ministry and I continued to carry that burden. I started carrying a backpack in my car filled with food, water, socks, underwear, and a few toiletry items and every once in a while the Spirit would move me to stop and talk to somebody holding a little cardboard sign at some intersection. Every time I did that I was filled with a mixture of emotion: joy that I made a connection and helped a person in-need, as well as deep sadness at their condition and how little I could really do for them. At the close of 2015 I was feeling this call to serve much more intensely and I vowed to make the next year one of action – that I would really step-out and up my game in serving the homeless. And that is what I did. For the first six months I did more of the personal outreach from my car and also learned about the Indianapolis Continuum of Care. I immediately inquired about any street outreach and was directed to a wonderful man named Ed and his team from Hazelwood Christian Church. Every Tuesday evening Ed, Lisa, Ashley, Niki, Kelsey, Paul, and/or Sophie would visit several of the homeless camps on the South and East sides of Indy. It has now been a year since I started working with this group and I consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life. These folks are so awesome and we all share the same desire to do as much as we can to help those who are in such desperate need.