TORCH was off running in July with a powerful look into the scope of homelessness and poverty in the Twin Cities. On July 11, a team of about 50 teens assembled “Blessing Bags” for those on the streets. The bags contained items to address immediate needs and to bring hope, such as deodorant, shampoo, hand sanitizer, chapstick, new socks, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, candy, prayer cards, notes from the TORCH teens, and more. Some also contained gift cards for a hot meal that you all so generously donated - thank you! When we finished 100 bags, we said a prayer for those who will receive the Blessing Bags and loaded the bus to go downtown.
When we arrived at Sharing and Caring Hands, Minnesota’s near-Saint Mary Jo Copeland was one of the first to greet us and thank us for coming. We watched a powerful video on her life and the work that she does to serve the homeless and hungry. She then came back and spoke with us about how God called her to serve others and how he is calling us to do the same. She told us the story of her childhood and stories about some of the people she has helped. She took time to talk to many of the kids, take photos, and pray with us. She is a treasure and we are so thankful for the time she took to spend with us today.
We then switched gears to tour the amazing facility of Sharing and Caring hands with a Sister in residence who works there. She graciously showed us around and explained what it was like to be a recipient of services. Over 500 individuals receive temporary housing (for up to 4-6 months) through Mary’s Place and over 1000 meals are served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner through Sharing & Caring Hands. The facility includes space to address medical and dental needs of clients for free, a free emergency food pantry, and a clothing room where hundreds of donation items are recycled to those in need. We learned that some of their biggest needs were items that we supplied in the Blessing Bags so the people they serve will immediately feel the TORCH impact of our visit.
After this powerful educational and service morning, the teens were due some fun and we all had a fantastic (and hot!!) time watching the Twin take on the Kansas City Royals in the 95 degree heat. With TORCH in the stands, the Royals didn’t stand a chance! Our Minnesota Twins won 8-5.
Thank you, TORCH teens, for all your work and spirit. What a beautiful day it was.