Executive Director Update Tony Johns
“Next for mail!”
This is a sound I look forward to hearing every Monday morning. There’s just something about hearing the sing-song quality of Dan Carey’s invitation that signals to me that we are ready to begin another week of welcoming our neighbors. Dan is just one of more than a dozen faithful volunteers that bring our mail room to life each week. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this aspect of our ministry. It represents so much of what we seek to accomplish as we journey with those we serve. The Crossroads mail room is a welcoming open door that provides access to an empowering resource that allows those experiencing the injustice of homelessness to realize some stability in their lives.
In our mission statement we assert as our goal the “personal and economic stability” of our guests. While most of us take for granted the mail that arrives at our home or in our post office box each day, those experiencing homelessness do not enjoy the stability of this privilege. A mailing address, and the opportunity to access that mail, are the first barrier that must be overcome in order for an individual to end their homelessness. It is the key to establishing identity, applying for a job, receiving government benefits, opening a bank account, applying for educational or training programs, and so many other vital aspects of a stable life.
Maybe even more important than these practical aspects are the personal and emotional stability offered. By inviting them in each day to receive their mail in a safe and welcoming environment, we are offering them a place to call home. Furthermore, we are offering ourselves as a family they can trust to care for what is often the only consistent and reliable resource they have. In doing so, we invest a sense of dignity into their lives that offers the hope that things will get better.
As the Chinese philosopher Laozi simply yet profoundly stated, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For so many of our guests beginning that thousand mile journey out of homelessness, the Crossroads mail room is that first step.