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.