Homeless Ministry – Serving Hot Breakfast in Record Cold Conditions

❄️ Shabbat, January 14, 2017. Homeless Ministry: Winter Quarter. Pancake Breakfast. The morning started out 16°F. The worst snow/ice storm to hit the Portland-metro & Clark County area in 20 years, and one of the top five all-time most snowfall in 24 hours. Mid-week Vancouver had 10.5 inches of snowfall and temperatures dropped all week and weekend-long to below freezing. When there are extreme circumstances, there is extreme opportunity for God to be praised. God provided an amazing opportunity to bless homeless people right here in our community. Those of us who were able to gather Saturday morning had a wonderful time, icicle feet notwithstanding. (We learned that standing on cardboard is warmer than standing on ice.)

Beit Shalom Balevav served full, hot pancake breakfast to nearly 30 people. We didn’t count, but we did completely run out of eggs, hash browns, all-beef sausage links, hot oatmeal, blue berry pancakes, and even yogurt and fresh strawberries. We felt so badly that there were a few latecomers who missed out. Tyler and Brandon did a good job calling out “hot breakfast” throughout the camp. One man said that he was so glad to taste “real” eggs because the food in the Share House is “processed.” One lady said that she couldn’t believe that we were able to cook so much hot food outside in the “bitter cold.” Two very needy men each received a 5- and 6-person dome tent with storm canopy and vestibule. Many women received jeans while others received warm clothing, undergarments, socks, and hygiene kits. There was a shivering man not even wearing a jacket. We asked if he needed a jacket and he emphatically responded, “YES.” He happily received one with a big smile. Six cold people living outdoors received sleeping bags. Another man who needed a tent later received one of our camp stoves instead. He said, “this is better than having a tent.” Many fell in line while Gordon filled up their one pound propane canisters full of fuel. A man named Dana Michael played some rhythm and blues while others chatted in front of a campfire provided from broken pallets. Before leaving, a large prayer circle was formed near the campfire and all the requests were for “others’ needs, safety and healing.” Praise Yeshua.

A special thanks to Stephen and Sonna who came all the way down from Ridgefield, Washington in a small white car on the icy roads! They not only brought hot oatmeal and smiles, but they bought a new two-burner camping stove to further our cause. God is always able to send the right people. A special thanks to Denise for the planning and logistics with such a high level of difficulty due to the extreme cold and small budget.

Good morning campers! Its cold out there.

Ava and Sally making “real” scrambled eggs

Campfire breakfast

Hot cocoa and a nice fire can keep a soul warm

Dana Michael playing rhythm and blues

Tyler and Brandon enjoying the cocoa and fire after a good morning’s work

Partial view of the “homeless camp” in down-town Vancouver near Share House