WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NUMBER AND WHY? My favorite number growing up was 13. Note sure why. Perhaps because it was the spooky, taboo number. Have you ever noticed that hotels often skip listing a 13th floor even when they have one? In high school, I fell in love with the number 31. It was my football jersey number. And now my son wears it on his hockey jersey for hockey and travel teams (not because of me but because of former NHL Goalie Carey Price). Email me your fav # and why.
THREE DISTURBING NUMBERS: 96, 142, 8
Through the end of September, 96 people have died while not having a place to call home. Those names will be painted on 2024 Homeless Memorial Wall. If the monthly average continues, 2023 will mean that between 110-130 people died homeless. Unacceptable.
142: We have experienced a steady increase in people coming to The Portico Breakfast. When we started in March 2023, thirty-seven people came. Last week it was 142. Resources are stretched thin. A minimum of 20 volunteers are needed every week (25-30 is better). Last week we had less than 20. It gets worse.
8: Even though The Hillsborough Organization of Progress and Equality had 80 people come to advocate, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to slash 8 million affordable housing dollars and divert them to sidewalks in the middle of an affordable housing crisis (I wrote about this recently). It’s likely that there will be more people sleeping on them in the coming years.
Want a bit of hypocrisy? One of the commissioners lived in affordable housing prior to being elected and voted against retaining the 10 Million dollars . The Commissioners could have diverted dollars from somewhere else in their 9 Billion dollar budget (yes, billion). Why didn’t they? In my opinion, it was a not so veiled swipe at HOPE. The first suggestion of where to divert the funds (before the sidewalks) might be a coincidence. Or it might not. There are certain stakeholders and decision makers who don’t appreciate HOPE poking them about justice issues. Many aren’t used to being questioned or challenged.
Check out this clip showing the Commissioners’ words about the diversion. It’s 3 minutes and infuriating to me.
Friends, if you are going to do justice work–you will be angry. Jesus was angry at times. Ephesians 4 reminds us: Be angry but don’t sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Inviting God into it is one method of dealing with your anger (I do that through centering prayer/meditation). Another way is to get involved. Do something.
What you can do about 96, 142, 8:
- Serve at The Portico Breakfast: Consider once a month or every 6 weeks. There are holiday opportunities on Thanksgiving (lunch), Christmas Eve (breakfast), and Christmas Day (lunch). SIGN UP.
- Engage in Portico Housing Solutions. Explore being a coach, Board member, or help with their fundraising efforts.
- Join HOPE by becoming Network Member. Commitments are: (1) attend 4 events/year, (2) bring 3 people to the big event, (3) Give $ (suggest 200 but any amount). the affordable housing committee that I will be co-leading. Email Justin with questions.
- Give. Become a Portico Partner by submitting a 2024 Estimate of Giving. If you believe in our work, support The Portico and its ministries, please invest. All size investments are welcomed.
HAPPY ALL HALLOWS’ EVE: Halloween is also know as All Hallows’ Eve and is rooted in Christianity. It is the day before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day (which we will celebrate a week from Sunday). On All Hallows’ Eve, the church held a vigil for people to prepare themselves with prayers and fasting for All Saints’/Hallows’ Day. To learn more about it, click here.
You are Loved.
* PHOTO: https://unsplash.com/photos/white-and-black-polka-dot-egg-ornament-ZAYyDJ9hjmE