Life Church volunteers made around 150 sack lunches and delivered them to the homeless population near the Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) on S. 12th Ave. in Phoenix, on Saturday.
It was nowhere near enough.
During our Feed the Need Outreach Event on January 4, 2020, volunteers gave out sack lunches that included a ham and turkey sandwich, bottle of water, snack cake and banana.
All of the sack lunches were gone in about a half hour.
“We could have made 300 and would have been able to give them out within an hour, I’m sure,” said James Cohea, who organized the event.
Volunteers were stunned by the sheer magnitude of people. “There were tents lining both sides of the streets and hundreds of homeless people who can’t get into the shelters due to overcrowding,” James said.
Pastor Greg Pratt said, “The biggest impact on me was the overwhelming amount of homeless and the need that was there.”
Homelessness is a growing problem in Arizona.
According to the Phoenix Rescue Mission website, there are over 36,000 homeless people in Arizona and over 25,832 of them are in Maricopa County. That’s 71% of Arizona’s homeless population. About 2,500 people statewide are considered “unsheltered,” which means they’re living on the streets.
According CASS’s website, Arizona has the fourth highest rate of asset poverty, which is how we measure a family’s ability to cover expenses in case of an emergency. When a family is living paycheck to paycheck, one emergency, such as death, or even a broken car can lead to homelessness. Over 25,000 families in Maricopa county alone faced eviction last year.
God’s instructions are clear. He tells us to help those in need.
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore, I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”
Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV
There are many ways to help. Volunteering to help with Life Church’s outreach events is one way. There are also opportunities to volunteer at local shelters or to donate. Click the links below for more information.