Monday, November 12, 2012

Give Me Shelter

Last night I had the opportunity to serve supper with some high school students at the Central Iowa Shelter & Services in downtown Des Moines.  The congregation where I work provides dinner to nearly 200 people at the CISS on the 11th day of each month.  It's a powerful reminder that Jesus calls us to give food, drink, clothing, and shelter to people in need.

This was my first time in the new 42,000 square foot shelter facility.  The building has a large dining room, two smaller gathering rooms, laundry, computer classroom, clothes closet, food pantry, and a weekly medical clinic.  These upgrades help CISS pursue its mission "to provide free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions, and to facilitiate their move toward self-sufficiency."

I recall visiting the St. Francis Center in Denver, CO in 2004 and wishing that Des Moines had a similar place to provide holistic services to homeless people.  Though the operations at CISS aren't nearly the size of St. Francis, I'm proud to live in a city that has devoted significant resources to reaching out in love to people in need.

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