LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Shelter Night Before Christmas

A man walked alone to the sound of his feet.
He lacked hope — and dinner — and looked for a place
To sleep with some warmth in his own little space.
Many people at home didn’t know of his plight
They had food and family, warm beds for the night.

Another emerged from the bridge in the cold
Feeling damp and deserted, with bones that seemed old.
He, too, was alone and kept hidden from sight
Of all those in the town whose lives seemed so right.
He found food where he could and said little to others
Except those like him, for they functioned as brothers.

Jeanine Kleimo

Laughter and singing rang out through the town,
While he sat alone in the cold, hunkered down.
For there is no Christmas for men such as he:
No dinner with family, no gifts by the tree.
No one knows he is there, no cards make their way
To his unknown address or to where he must stay.
As he walked farther, he saw a bright light
With a sign offering welcome, and a place for the night.
He was fearful and wondered if it might be true
That people could care for him–like me and you.
A shower, clean clothes, and some food made him feel
That things could be better, that hope could be real.

From prison, from alleys and dumpsters they came
To a place where new friends would call them by name.
Where faith might once again fire their heart
Where it seems that they just might get a new start.
Where they would be offered both food and a bed
And where news of God’s love might in them be bred.

This Christmas, we hope you will help us to feed
And to shelter the men whose lives have such need.
For those whom we love and encourage can find
A job and a place of their own in due time.
Our wish is you’ll join us to end these men’s plight
So that all may have a Christmas that is warm, hopeful, and bright.

Jeanine Kleimo
Interfaith Mission for Housing, Inc.

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