Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Covenant House

"Oh please please please snow," I muttered while staring out the window. We'd had a light snowfall already, and it wasn't sticking, but because this is Texas I was holding on to hope that my classes might still be cancelled. It's the benefit of living in places like Texas and Tennessee. When you don't get much snow, the tiniest bit of it will shut everything down and give you a day to read books and watch Netflix. Or finish that paper on Russian theatre. I had the news turned on. They kept talking about the dropping temperatures, because again, we panic about that stuff over here. Nothing about school cancellations, though.

"Come on, snow!" I whispered. I was getting irritated. And then I looked at the TV, and I forgot about school for just a minute. On the screen, a group of women were setting up a table of hot food. The camera panned over to a group of homeless men. They lined the sidewalk, huddled up against a building, bundled into sleeping bags, hats, and earmuffs. It wasn't enough. How could it be enough? And then it struck me: I'm sitting here praying for the exact thing that can only make their lives worse right now. Suddenly avoiding my classes didn't seem so important.

I enjoy winter, but I realize that everything I love about winter involves avoiding it. I like the giant sweaters, the time spent in front of a fireplace, and wrapping up in a blanket while I enjoy the aforementioned books and Netflix. If I didn't have food, shelter, and heat, winter would be a nightmare.

And for many people under the age of twenty one, winter is a nightmare. Think of the last time you felt truly cold, when the wind crept under all the layers and cut into your skin, when you shivered violently as your body desperately tried to get warm again. That moment might have been this morning, but how long did it last? Long enough to get your car warmed up? Long enough for you to dig your keys out of your bag and get into your house? What if it didn't end? Can you imagine spending an entire night feeling that way? For homeless teens, these nights aren't just cold. They're dangerous.

That's why Covenant House, an organization supporting homeless teenagers, is so important. It's more than a shelter. Yes, it does provide shelter and warm beds, but it also provides job training, help for mothers, and so much more. I only found out about Covenant House a month or so ago, but it's clear that they provide a lifesaving work. And if you, like me, don't have a lot of extra cash lying around, there are ways you can help that won't cost you any money, although donations are always helpful as well. For now, why not take a look at the website and just get to know the organization a bit? It may inspire you to make a difference.

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