We Aim High
Thank you to Speak Up for your support while we faced homelessness this year
'Tis the season for giving, sharing, warmth, family, and love, and my wife and I are grateful to all the individuals, church ministries, and organizations that have allowed us to survive, thrive, and make it on the streets this year.
I would especially like to recognize Speak Up for their ministering and support this past year for us as we struggled to survive on the streets of Asheville, N.C. Please consider donating to support their good work.
Our life experiencing homelessness was made harder as more and more local, state, and national Covid-19 restrictions prohibited us from congregating and finding sanctuary in any establishment or institution (e.g., college libraries, city libraries, churches, rehabilitative services, etc.). The increased enforcement of those mandates from police had a disproportionate impact on so many of us in the homeless community. The whole year, from the extremities of the winter to summer season to today was a constant challenge.
But we struggled on, and managed to keep our faith through the assurances and promises of God, and the love and loyalty from our brothers and sisters of the Speak Up family.
I remember the day my wife and I decided to take a trip from Asheville to Black Mountain this past summer. We were trying to get new clothes and find somewhere "safe" to camp. The Asheville area had just received flash flooding, and our campsite was completely destroyed!
We got off the bus and went immediately to the Salvation Army store. We inquired with the manager working that day, explaining that we were homeless and looking for work or a place to stay. She suggested to us that we volunteer or donate our time and we agreed to do so later. My wife needed an outfit, and as we were at the register paying for it, her debit card from working a day labor job was declined. We were devastated—almost all of our stuff had been ruined in the flood—and we had nothing. Just then a woman behind us spoke up and said that she would pay for our purchase. We were stunned that a complete stranger would recognize our situation, be sympathetic toward us, and take initiative.
We thanked her, and as we left, she asked us for a moment to talk with us. She introduced herself as Lana Shaw, said she was visiting the area, and we learned that she and her husband founded Speak Up.
She explained the opportunities that Speak Up provides to folks who were less fortunate, homeless, or on the streets. As vendors who sell magazines and subscriptions, she said, we could work to provide ourselves with an income while "speaking out" for others without a voice.
My wife, at first, seemed hesitant to trust something "too good to be true," and Mrs. Lana assured us that God loved us that Speak Up would help us move in a positive direction. She took us out to lunch, and we talked further about the opportunities, and I revealed to her that I believed this would be a wonderful outlet for my writing, and she agreed. Afterward she gave us a Pursuit Pack containing magazines and subscribe cards and set up a subscription page for us on Speak Up. She bought us a room at the retreat center where she was staying, and the following day drove us up to an outlook on the mountain to pray with us. She was literally an angel sent to help my wife and I. God knew that we were looking to make a difference and do something better and positive with our lives, and He sent her to show us the way.
The next day, she met us again, and drove us back out to the Salvation Army store so that we could volunteer. She dropped us off, bought us groceries and coffee, and bid us a heartfelt and emotional goodbye. That same day we began to receive subscriptions through Speak Up, as well as generous donations from supporters and the Speak Up ministry. They also paid me for the poetry I submitted.
We may be low, but we aim high, and you may be surprised to hear some of our stories.
Speak Up has given my wife and I the opportunity to “speak out” about our life and struggles on the streets. Speak Up has given us strength, encouragement, drive, and a purpose to support ourselves. Speak Up has given us a resource to help our fellow community learn of the same opportunity and potentially end their poverty as well.
With your help and support, you can help us end the cycle of homelessness, and give others like us the “Pursuit Packs of happiness” needed to grant us the tools and the ability to provide for (and save for) our future success.
Thank you for donating to Speak Up this holiday season.
Giving Opportunity: Create Pursuit Packs
Pursuit Packs provide immediate opportunity for people facing homeless.
Each pack contains resources for someone on the streets to earn emergency cash, establish long-term recurring income, and take care of basic hygiene needs.
In 2022, we want to empower 1,000 people—by distributing 1,000 Pursuit Packs to those facing homelessness throughout the country.
Will you empower this effort with a tax-deductible donation today?
Your gift funds the material creation of the Pursuit Pack and covers the cost of shipping it to the distributing volunteer. It also provides the support, training, community, and resources for the recipient to use it effectively.