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Parties, Hot Dogs, and Fun -OH MY!

Over the last 12-15 months, we have thrown quite a few parties in Green St. park in downtown Danville, Virginia, as our little way of saying that the Kingdom of God is most at home in the places where the need is most profound. This particular park is one of the public places to which Grace and Main has made a commitment. We believe that parties are a fantastic instrument to spread grace to those who most sorely need it. If you stand in the middle of this park, you’ll see need all around you and if you spend much time in the area you’ll soon learn which houses have been used to perpetuate the crack cocaine problem that plagues downtown and the Northside and which houses have been lost to blight or prostitution–you’ll also notice the many children who call this neighborhood home. At these parties, we asked families what we could do Continue reading

Urban Survival Bags

Recently, Grace and Main Fellowship undertook a new mission commitment aimed at blessing our brothers and sisters who are sleeping outside at this time of year. In some cases, they don’t have the option to stay at a shelter organization because of the chronic nature of their homelessness and the lack of an adequate long-term homeless shelter or rescue in Danville. Others have a variety of issues or fears about being confined and choose to stay outside for the sake of their own mental health. Regardless, it became clear to us earlier this year that we needed to find a way to offer love and grace to our beloved brothers and sisters trying to survive outside as temperatures drop.

After much brainstorming and planning, we decided that the first step in this new mission commitment to our homeless brothers and sisters who sleep outside is to provide what we’re calling “urban survival bags.” For the prototype phase of this part of the new commitment, we packed four large duffel bags with a variety of urban survival supplies that will enable somebody to live a little more comfortably and healthily this winter.

We’re going to continue to refine the contents of these bags and we hope in the next phase of this commitment to standardize the items once we get some feedback from our brothers and sisters who have already benefited from them.

Each of the bags we packed contained:

  • A winter-rated “mummy” sleeping bag
  • A heavy blanket
  • A thick and reusable poncho
  • Chemical hand-warmers
  • A pair of thick gloves
  • A scarf
  • A pair of wool socks
  • A “toboggan” (a knit cap)
  • A complete first-aid kit
  • A complete hygiene kit, including waterless soap
  • A notebook (with pen) that includes hours of operation, phone numbers, and addresses for local care organizations and the times and locations of free meals near downtown
  • A deck of cards and some candy
  • A heavy-duty “Nalgene” water bottle
  • A few other small things
We are continuing to receive feedback both from those who directly benefit from these bags and from those who have an opinion about how to make them better. We’d love to know your thoughts, as well.
This commitment was funded in part by the generous donations of individuals and congregations who want to see Third Chance Ministries and Grace and Main Fellowship continue to do ministry and honor its commitments in downtown Danville. The cost per bag for each of these four bags was a little over $115. Please consider donating to Grace and Main Fellowship if you want to help us continue in this commitment to help our brothers and sisters downtown. Consider pledging support to Third Chance Ministries  if you want to fund a missionary working with Grace and Main to continue commitments like these.
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