There is no denying the economic challenges that are occurring locally and globally. History has taught us in previous economic struggles the sheer effort to think outside oneself and help others has encouraged people to overcome challenging economic times and pressed people to move forward.
Trinity Missionary Baptist Church has witnessed, firsthand the economic hardships in the local community of Sacramento. Members dedicate their time by meeting every fourth Saturday morning at 7:30a.m. to assist the homeless community. There are more homeless people living on the streets now than before and it is the opinion of some that if we don’t work together numbers of homelessness will increase.
Sister Inell Howard, first lady for 39 years at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Park has been spearheading this community effort for over 30 years. According to members, First Lady Howard addresses the congregation every month and updates the church on the status in homeless community and rallies them to donate socks, sweaters, coats, mittens and children’s clothes. Sister Howard reminds the congregation that "It’s cold at night and there are kids out there."
When the fourth Saturday arrives, first Lady Howard and her committed church members began prepping several lunch bags, they ensure sure all the donations are loaded up. Members then indulge in of one those old fashioned potluck breakfasts, with the good orange juice, flavorful breakfast meats, thick grits, eggs and biscuits!
Preparing to head out members congregate in a circle and began prayer and proceed to their destination of 16&N Street. Experiencing the 30+ year tradition for the first time, I’m going to admit that I was embarrassed of my shock. I was only 20 minutes away from home, but it looked like I was in a different city all together. There were so many different races, genders and ages out there. The widely distanced area was filled with people everywhere. After members set up, they swung into action and started handing out lunch bags, socks, coats, mittens and scarves. Lines don’t take long to form and at the end of the line you can hear Mrs. Howard greeting people asking them "Do you need socks? Shirts? Coats? Did you get a lunch? Do you want another one? The attending members are just as considerate assisting people with trying on coats, offering beverages and plenty of smiles and acknowledging words.
According to the National Student Campaign; each year, about 2.5 to 3.5 million people experience homelessness for a period of time and on any given night 750,000 people are homeless. (www.studentsagainsthunger.org). The homeless population includes:
- 50% families with children
- 20% U.S. military veterans
- 25% children under age 18
- 30% have experienced domestic violence
- 20-25% suffer from mental illness
Needless to say the most alarming study here is the fact that 75% of the homeless community include figures involving youth whether they’re with their family or not.
While assisting in line I spoke with some of the people that are stuck in this viscous homeless cycle. I began to understand that our situations were no different than their experiences.
When the last lunch bag is given out and there aren’t any more mittens or scarves Trinity members say their goodbyes, clean up and leave with heavy hearts gearing up for the next fourth Saturday.
If you would like to contribute any gently used clothes or scarves, mittens or even if you would like to participate in this worthwhile community event Trinity Missionary Baptist church is located at 3601 12th Ave meets every fourth Saturday of the month they start prepping at 7am and depart at 930am sharp you can contact the church at (916) 457-6625.
Submitted by Sac Hub News Reporter and Staff Writer, Keadrian Belcher-Harris