There's nothing like a party to bring the community together. What makes the party even better is when there is a greater purpose. We often thank God when something fortunate happens for us. However, being thankful for the blessings we receive, is just a small part in how God uses us to help the homeless men, women, and children in our community.
Since most of the readers of Moving Forward Magazine are either business owners or people who work or support businesses in our community, I'm going to let you in on a little secret that I tell all my clients. "Good Business is Good Business". What that means is that it is perfectly acceptable for businesses to market themselves as supporters of Matthew's Hope. You might have been in a meeting and thought, am I being selfish for promoting my Company at the Garden Party, Giving on the Green, or Christmas Carnival? The answer is a resounding "NO"!
This is how God uses you. He knows your talents and hopes you will use your talents to not only benefit you and your family, but to support those who are less fortunate. When Matthew's Hope started, Scott Billue was hoping to just get socks and underwear to the homeless. He recognized that most other organizations were just offering a hand out which only serves to perpetuate the problem. In creating Matthew's Hope, Scott's goal was to help these individuals build a life of independence and self sustainability. This is why Matthew's Hope focuses so much on "Help Us, Help Them, Help Themselves".
When you take a deep look at what causes someone to become homeless, you will quickly realize that just handing someone a few dollars will not do anything to solve the problem. The truth is that many homeless guests at Matthew's Hope require medical attention, housing, transportation, education, career support, and money management skills.
This was the case with Miguel. Thanks to the financial support from people in the the community, Miguel was able to regain his independence back through eye surgery which gave him his sight, dental work that gave him back his confidence to smile, and education which helped him reinstate his driver's license.
Another homeless guest, Shannon, last OD from heroine was in December 2019. Thanks to your generosity, Shannon is now clean and sober. She has reclaimed her smile through dental surgeries, and is in process of healing her relationship with her children. Shannon is a valued member of the Matthew's Hope team and is currently working towards an education goal to become an addiction counselor. Shannon was moved into transitional housing and graduated the Moving Forward Program.
The Moving Forward Program starts with helping the homeless guests meet their basic needs with food, clothing, and hygiene and ends with them matching $1000 that their guest has put into savings so they can achieve independent living. The program includes rewards for homeless guests as they achieve certain goals, attending classes, and working full time. Matthew's Hope provides work opportunities at both the wood shop and Matthew's Hope Chest Store.
"Anyone who wants to work at Matthew's Hope, can" stated Scott Billue.
Less than 12 years ago Matthew's Hope was just socks and underwear. Today Matthew's Hope includes medical, dental, optical, mental health care, transitional housing, custom wood shop, a boutique store, legal and financial assistance, and much more. The growth of Matthew's Hope over the last 12 years is due to the tremendous support that they have received from the community. They do not accept any government funding.
"Do what you can, not what you can't...if you don't see God's hand on this place then you're missing something incredible. He used YOU, to help us, help them, help themselves" stated Scott Billue.
So how does this story end for each of us. I ask that you take a good look at yourself. What talents has God given you which will allow you to contribute? For me personally, I believe God is telling me to write. I have always wanted to be a writer, however, I never seem to have the time. Moving Forward Magazine is a perfect vehicle for me to share my talents and tell Matthew's Hope story from a different perspective. I believe there are thousands of us out there who want to help, they just don't know how. As Scott says, "Do what you can, not what you can't". We all have something to offer. What's your gift?