Tag Archives: interfaith hospitality ministry

One less thing to worry about

Last night Mrs. Poolman and I spent the night on cots at our church, as overnight hosts for two homeless families. This is part of a program called Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. Our parish take two or three weeks of the year and provides overnight housing, breakfast and dinner for two or three families. Other churches pick up the other weeks.

I didn’t sleep that well, so I’m a little raw today. This will be a short post.

I thought that the reason I didn’t sleep well was the uncomfortable cot and the unfamiliar surroundings. I was wrong. Apparently I was worrying about the new etiquette for gay weddings.  Marlo Thomas has all the answers for me.

I’ll rest easy tonight.

Catchin’ up on a holiday week

Christmas is behind us, but I still have nearly a week left before having to go back to work. Life is good.

We had a rather quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas. Mrs. Poolman and I went to 4 pm Mass and then over to some friends for their annual Christmas Eve open house. Both our children were either working or were tied up with their spouse’s or GF’s families. They came over to our house late Saturday afternoon. We did the gift exchange and had a fantastic holiday meal of prime rib roast, twice-baked potatoes, squash casserole, and more. Yum-yum!

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I took off for Jacksonville to visit her two sisters. We had hoped some more of the nieces and nephews might have been able to join us for dinner, but it was not to be. That’s life. I contributed a pan of chicken enchiladas to the evening meal and we had a very nice visit.

We had a fairly busy day today. I had a routine dentist appointment this morning. After a lunch of left-overs from the above-mentioned Christmas dinner, we took two of our pets to the vet. Penny the Kitten needed her initial check up and round of immunizations. Casey the Lab, however, has some sort of growth between two of his toes on one of his front paws. The vet isn’t sure what it is, but says it’s about a 50-50 proposition that it may be a malignant tumor. He’ll remove it next week and sent it out for lab work. At the same time, Miss Penny is going to lose her “lady parts.”

We’re off to the church tonight for this round of the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. As I have described in other posts, our church cooperates with others in the area to host homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to spend the night at the church to “host” and troubleshoot as needed. We’ve done it several times already over the past two years. It’s an all-together good thing. Actually it’s less of trouble for me because I can sleep like a baby under almost any conditions. Mrs. P, on the other hand, hears every bang or creak and never does get much sleep. I guess I can count on her taking a “long winter’s nap” when we get home tomorrow morning.

Helping out

Mrs. Poolman and I spent last night sleeping on cots in our church parish center. This was part of our parish’s participation in the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. We did this last year. It’s a good program and we enjoy supporting it.

Essentially, a group of churches takes turns providing breakfast, dinner and overnight shelter to a small number of homeless families. This was one of three 2010 weeks our parish is assigned.

Our job was to be the overnight hosts. We showed up at our parish center around 8:30 pm and met one of the two single-mom families. The second family was already in their room and put to bed for the night. I played Scrabble with one of the boys for about 45 minutes until his mom came around and scooted him off to bed.

Mrs. P and I had a curtained off section of the gym with some cots. We were up at 6 am to lay out the breakfast food. We then cleaned up the eating area and were out the door headed home by 7:00 am.

The families in this program are not the hard-core drunks and drug addicts. These are families who have hit bad times and need some help to get back on their feet. We are very glad we were offered the opportunity to contribute.

Sometimes you get lucky

Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Last night at CCD class, we made a connection.

Most of the class was fairly routine. This was the first class we’ve had since mid-November, so it took a little bit of effort to get things rolling. And the material in this particular chapter wasn’t particularly interesting. Finally, the last section of the chapter was a fictional story about a parish that got together to provide a shuttle van system for elderly who couldn’t drive to the grocery store. The point of the story was to show how, as Catholics and Christians, we are obligated to look out for and care for others.

That got us into a discussion of just exactly who we are supposed to care for. The answer, of course, is “everyone.”

Before dismissal, we were supposed to give the students a flier on next week’s class, which will be a special Christmas program. The students are being asked to support the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry (See this earlier post.) by bringing in something to help homeless families who are being sheltered by the IHM. They suggest things like schools supplies, toiletries, towels, diapers, etc.

I challenged the “little darlin’s” to join this effort, but not to take the easy way out. Don’t just ask Mom or Dad to buy something for them to contribute.  I asked them to use a part of their allowance or to do extra jobs around the house to earn money to buy something to contribute to the project.

I am always amazed when a message seems to get through. They actually seemed to “get it.”  We had a good discussion about what they should buy and how they could get the cash to do so. I jokingly suggested they could come over and rake the leaves in my front yard, but I backed out on that when half the class jumped on the idea. I don’t need a gang of 10-year olds showing up at my front door on Saturday morning.

Next week, we’ll see how we’ll see if the message actually translates to action.

Rasslin’ with the kids…or not

We’re running a little low on energy tonight. Mrs. Poolman and I spent last night in our church’s parish hall as overnight hosts for three homeless families. It was really OK, and we’ll probably do it again when our parish’s next host week comes around. A group of churches rotate the program among them, each taking a week at a time. The adults and the children were all very nice.

Since we were on the overnight shift, we didn’t get there until after 8 pm, when things were starting to settle down. One of the families was set up in a meeting room. The other two had partitioned-off “rooms” in the larger gymnasium. Mrs. Poolman and I had cots in the other meeting room, which is also where the toys and VCR/DVD player were located.

Mrs. Poolman's digs.

Mrs. Poolman's digs.

My bunk.

My bunk.

Before they settled into the “rooms,” I was sitting on the floor playing with a three year old boy and his two year old sister. We were playing with some cards (as opposed to playing cards) when someone said, “Look at that” and pointed to the TV screen where The Lion King was playing behind me. I just laid back and looked at the TV upside down. The next thing I knew, the girl had sat down on my chest and was babbling at me. She was quickly replaced by her bother. He got on all fours on my chest and began growling like the “lion king.”

I thought “OK. Game on! This child wants to rough house.” Mrs. Poolman saw the look of eager anticipation in my eyes and stopped me before I ever got going. She pointed out the child’s mother would be angry if I got him riled up just before bed time. So I was good and didn’t toss him in the air, spin him around in circles or flip him into somersaults. However, that didn’t discourage him from climbing all over me and generally having a good time. We did a couple of piggy-back rides, but nothing more energetic than that.

Later, I talked with his mom and told her that I was sorry her son was such shy young man who didn’t take to strangers and didn’t like to rough house. She agreed and said that her son was just very quiet and didn’t really like to wrestle or rough house. Huh? I wonder if she has another son I didn’t meet.