About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Thank you for writing this…. I work with homeless, and its an issue close to my heart. Nice to know its also with others as well. 🙂

  2. That is very cool and very inspirational!! :o) We live in a very rural place and though there is a homeless shelter in a town nearby we do not see that need on a daily basis. I remember the trip our family took to Washington DC, it was an eye opener for us all. Our sweet son, who was aroun 8 at the time just took a shine to one man. I was uncomfortable and not sure how to handle it, but my husband held me back and let the two friends talk. I’m so glad that he did!! :o) Our son learned more compassion that day and even though he is now 14 he still remembers his ‘friend’ and prays for him.

  3. That is awesome. Thank you for the challenge. It’s a tough challenge. But, like you, I want to be God’s hands and feet — wherever He calls me to be. And I want my family to love with His love, even when it’s uncomfortable. Thank you for the challenge to “ask the tough questions”. Truly.

  4. Thank you for your authentic post. Our family had been serving the homeless, making dinner and feeding about 75 folks once per month, that program ended last month and we have been looking at something else to do. After reading the book, “Under the Overpass” I was given an entirely different perspective of the homeless and how much they need someone to pay attention. Your call to be intentional is one we all should take. I am excited to share this idea with my family and make a difference in small but very important ways!

  5. Thank you. We carry “mana bags” (knowing they won’t make a huge impact, but with enough provisions for one more day) in our car with similar items like you have described. They can quickly be passed out the window when we can’t stop in traffic but see someone in need.
    I will be adding a few new items to my list thanks to your wonderful ideas! Something you might want to consider is adding a pair of socks – even in the summer, socks are the one item we have seen actually make eyes dance when we give them away. I posted about more about socks at http://infertilitymom.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post.html

  6. That’s a great idea. I have however, seen new signs cropping up in our area where people are asking to keep a roof over their families’ heads. So they are wanting money alone. But honestly – sometimes I give it and leave what they do with it between them and God.

  7. Isn’t there a special connection between children and those in need? They are always so ready to step up, while we adults hesitate and make excuses. My mother always taught that we should give, and what they do with it is between them and God. Our family keeps “meal sized” gift cards from easy to access restaurants (Wendy’s, McDonalds, etc.) that can be shared, based on the neighborhood they are in. But, I love the idea of a “basics bag”. Thanks for sharing!

  8. wonderful post! I know we’ve been guilty of helping out during well organized times, yet turned an eye at the stop sign when we’ve seen people in immediate need.

  9. Thanks so much for doing this with your kids. You also might want to consider telling them about the many types of homelessness. We all think of the men asking for money on the side of the road, but women and children are a fast growing group of homeless people who also need help and support.

  10. absolutely, Laura – The Miss Yung that I mentioned in the post is a wonderful woman facing homelessness. She has shared the growing problem. It’s amazing because even though she is homeless, she has a heart to help minister to the other women as well.

  11. I love this idea, thanks! I don’t come across homeless people much as I live in a rural area BUT, will do this and IF I see someone in need will be prepared.

  12. I was wondering what happened to the full post about this. I wanted to share it with a friend and was having trouble finding it. Thank you.

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