Who Is My Neighbor? (Home Sweet Home Ministries)

(5 minute read)

Where can we see Calvary folks teaching art, remodeling rooms, teaching job skills, and being a shopper?  These, as well as many other opportunities to serve are at Home Sweet Home Ministries right here in town.  According to their website,

“Home Sweet Home Ministries has been serving the homeless and hungry with Christ's love in Bloomington, Illinois since 1917. We provide case management and other supportive services to the homeless such as shelter, hot meals, clothing and toiletries, and children's programming. Our goal is to help people find independence, restore their hope and share the love of Jesus Christ with them.”

Calvary has a special relationship with Home Sweet Home Ministries (HSHM), providing not only financial support, but also the opportunities for people to serve there in a variety of ways.  Here are some of the stories from our Calvary family who see their neighbors at HSHM.

From Eric Hoss:

“My personal mission at Home Sweet Home mission is to provide career and job interview services. I help clients learn how to research job options, write a resume, and have the interview skills to land the job. I have many rewarding experiences where someone homeless is able to secure a job and become independent.”

Eric and his wife, Terri, will be participating in HSHM’s “Night in a Car” Fundraiser on Friday, February 3, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bloomington.  Stop by and see them if you read this by then!

From Anne Powell:

I volunteered at HSHM in response to a plea Amanda Nesby sent out a year and a half ago.  Can you believe it, they were looking for a shopper!  A hard (not) job, but somebody has to do it!
Every Thursday morning, I go to the mission to pick up the shopping list and the big blue van.  I wish we had a picture of it because it is striking with pictures of fruits and vegetables and the words, Bread for Life Co-Op.  Co-Op.  Not pantry.  Because HSHM works to provide a "hand up," not a "hand-out."  That's what I like about this place; they allow people to build self esteem at a time in their lives when they may have lost their pride.
Anyway, back to my job.  All I really do is go to Sam's and Walmart and spend the Mission's money.  I have a friend who volunteers with me.  We shop and bring the food back and put it away.  Not hard at all, but we're always told we're appreciated.  And every week, we see that the local homeless are well fed.  In the time we've done this job, we've also seen shelter residents move to jobs first within the shelter and later, in the community.  And in the halls of the Mission, we see hope.
I have limited experience with the Co-Op, but it's an amazing place.  It's set up like a grocery store and shoppers, who have volunteered to "pay" for their purchases, make their own choices rather than just picking up a box.  Food comes from the Midwest Food Bank and food donations from local stores and gardeners.  [Editorial comment:  Last year, Calvary donated over 2 tons of fresh produce from our Community Garden to the Food Co-Op and HSHM’s kitchen.]  
At some point, I'd like to be more "hands on" and work directly with residents, possibly teaching sewing.  But for now, I fill a need and it really isn't a hard job.  If anyone else is interested, I know there are frequent pick-ups at various local stores and the volunteer coordinator is always looking for help.

From Fred Nimke and Richard Nielsen:

Fred Nimke and Richard Nielsen are currently replacing the ceilings in one of the rooms reserved for veterans.  The  materials were donated by the VFW and it’s a great connection since Richard is a veteran and Fred is a carpenter.  Previously, Fred worked in Home Sweet Home’s Mission Mart to put up special walls to hold shelves.  He also built a shed last year for their garden at the warehouse.  When asked why Fred likes to serve at HSHM he said, “Because that’s what I’m called you to.”

From Joe Landon:

Joe teaches art classes at HSHM every Thursday and has been doing so for several years.  Joe shares his God-given talent so that others can discover theirs!

Mary Ann Pullin, CEO of HSHM said,

“The thing I love most about Home Sweet Home Ministries is that you can come here with your God-given gifts and find a place to be a neighbor to others. This applies to service recipients, volunteers, and employees.”

Want to serve?  Call the church and we’ll set you up to be blessed as you are a blessing to others.