No one should have to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Night outside, and thanks to your very generous support, SEVENTY-TWO of homeless men, women, children, and two dogs participated in our Room in the Inn program this year! Thank you!!!
Sixty of our guests woke up Christmas morning in beds instead of outside in sleeping bags or worse. The other twelve were mostly new to us and began their two-night stays on Christmas Day after joining us at Saturday Servings or being referred. All of them enjoyed the comforts of a motel room for two nights, although we began sheltered thirty-eight of them five days earlier due to weather, and had fifty-eight neighbors already in rooms the night before the program began Friday. Those early arrivals were paid for by our Emergency Shelter program…Thanks for supporting it too!
I am confident we would have had many more guests for Room in the Inn were it not for the law requiring a photo ID to check into a motel room. Dozens more. As Maureen reached out throughout the week to those we knew would be outside, she spoke with quite a few who lacked IDs and we couldn’t get a room for. I spent most of the week canvassing camps, corners, and shopping centers in our serving area, looking for those needing shelter during the week’s cold weather and for potential Room in the Inn guests. Those I found were connected to Maureen to do intakes, book rooms, and get hoodie sizes for the gift bags. Thanks Maureen! It was heartbreaking to see so many we could only offer a sleeping bag to because they have lost IDs. We reached out to other outreaches in hopes of helping their friends too, but only a handful joined us due to the ID requirement. Praise God for opening doors at three motels for six of those without IDs to have rooms, including three I’ve known since our beginning! Thank you Father for our Christmas miracle!
A very special thank you goes to Anna, Faye C., Betty Jo, Maureen, and Sydney for assembling one hundred gift bags for our guests! On top of everything else they do for this ministry, they took this on…thank you! They used large canvas messenger bags to hold four pairs of socks from Bombas, a Mo Hope hoodie, numerous microwaveable meals, hygiene items, and a fast food gift card. The bags were then labeled with guest names and grouped by nine motels to make it easier for delivery. The remaining bags will be used for guests receiving emergency motel stays in the coming weeks.
Every neighbor we know who lives outside and has a photo ID, and even a few without IDs, all enjoyed a Room in the Inn this year! Thank you for helping make these Moments of Hope possible!
Each year, Moments of Hope Outreach hosts our Room in the Inn program providing our chronically homeless neighbors with private motel rooms for Christmas Eve and Christmas Night, along with food and gifts. No one should have to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Night outside! The packages we provide include donated socks from Bombas, fast food gift cards, microwaveable meals, Mo Hope hoodies, and more.
Room in the Inn for 100+ Unsheltered Neighbors
Motel Rooms @2nights x 100 = $18,000.00
Gift Cards x 125 = $3,125.00
Microwavable Meals x 375 = $750.00
Mo Hope Hoodie x 100 = $1,500.00
Total cost - $23,375.00
Room for two nights - $180
Fast food gift card - $20
Microwavable meals (4) - $8
Mo Hope Hoodie - $20
Total = $228
Family of Three Package
Room for two nights (1) - $180
Fast food gift card (3) - $60
Microwavable meals (12) - $24
Mo Hope Hoodie (3) - $60
Total = $324
While we encourage paying for entire packages, we expect many will contribute smaller amounts which will help fund the gifts for extra family members. Any surplus funds will go to provide emergency motel stays this winter.
Last year's participants offer thanks...
No one should have to spend Christmas Eve & Christmas Night outdoors!
Every Christmas, we pay for two nights in a motel for as many of our homeless friends as we can for Christmas Eve & Christmas Night. In 2018, we paid for 38 of our homeless friends to enjoy a warm hotel room, hot shower, and sleep in a real bed...instead of sleeping outside. Our goal for 2019 was to provide a Room in the Inn for 100 of our friends struggling to survive outdoors, and we reached it late on Christmas Eve!
As midnight approaches on this Christmas Eve, an incredible number of our unsheltered neighbors won’t be sleeping outside tonight; thanks to the many generous donors who contributed to our Room in the Inn program. Instead, they’re enjoying the comforts of beds with pillows and clean sheets in motel rooms with heat, hot showers, and TVs…things most of them have not experienced in weeks or longer. And better than the fast food gift cards each received is the homemade dinner Betty Jo prepared and will deliver tomorrow with the help of a few of her elves.
Things didn’t quite go as planned, as surely Satan didn’t like all the Hope and Love we had planned to share. Our bank’s fraud department was alerted after the first dozen or so rooms were paid for at multiple motels with the same credit card. Imagine dozens of our friends leaving behind their camps for two nights escaping their homeless nightmare, only to be told by the front desk that the card being used to pay for their escape had been declined. Or the surprise for two of our friends expecting their own rooms, but being given the same room to share by the front desk by mistake; one friend an African-American, and the other openly racist. Despite my best efforts yesterday visiting six of the seven motels to provide lists with guest names and confirmation numbers and attempting to make advance payments to ensure today went smoothly, none of the motels could accept payments, and today fire’s kept popping up throughout the day until well after the sun went down.
With all known fires put out, the final tally around 7pm was 98 friends enjoying Rooms in the Inn; just 2 shy of our goal of 100! Then a text message arrived from a single Mom and her child begging us to pay for a room for them…or they’d be outside tonight and Christmas Day. As I’ve said countless times, no one should spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Night outside…especially with a child! It might have been poetic had her name been Mary, asking for a Room in the Inn, but her name is Angel. You can bet I’m not letting an Angel sleep outside on Christmas Eve either! And with a quick call to our friend Tina at the Super 8 where we’d already paid for 28 rooms, we provided a Room in the Inn for our 99th and 100th unsheltered neighbors. Absolutely amazing!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Room in the Inn such a success! May God receive all glory for what we’ve accomplished. And may each of those whom we’ve given this gift find Hope through our efforts.