“I remember in the early 1980s when God showed me to always have a grateful heart and to never forget where I’ve come from,” Doug Stringer says. Recently, through one of our Somebody Cares Houston partners, he experienced a tangible reminder of those days and that message.
Doug and Lisa joined up with SC Houston partner Inner Chamber Church and Thousand Hills Homeless Ministry on a Friday evening to share worship, the Word, food, and fellowship, along with distribution of Christmas gifts and other resources—many of which were provided through Somebody Cares.
“As I was sitting amongst those we were serving,” Doug recalled, “so many memories and thoughts flooded my mind from decades ago when I, too, was in need. For a short period of time, I was homeless, traveling on freight trains and hitchhiking up and down the West Coast. I also remember walking or hitchhiking to college and work, thinking how great it would be to have a car—any car!
“The Lord reminded me of all He has done throughout my life and why He’s called me and allowed me to serve Him in ministry. It really is a privilege to be part of what the Lord is doing in the lives of people.”
Earlier in the month, SCA donated backpacks, gift cards, clothes, blankets, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer to another SCH partner, YWAM Houston, for their annual outreach to street kids in the Montrose area of Houston. And in Rosenberg, Texas, the Stringers attended a Christmas fiesta hosted by Gideon and Sarah Stanley, pastors from Grace Center. SCA donated toys and gifts for the event.
“We were not prepared for the crowds!” Gideon said, noting they had to raise the walls of the tent to accommodate everyone.
Ten churches partnered for the outreach, which featured Christmas carols, puppets, hip-hop,and gifts. The Fort Bend Sherriff’s office showed up and committed to provide toys to all the children who did not get one at the event because of the crowds. But most important of all was the presentation of Jesus as the reason for the season.
“May the seeds sown today bear much fruit,” Gideon said.
“In Houston alone, we assisted over 20 church and ministry partners by providing resources and finances to help them leverage their capacity to reach exponentially more people,” said Lisa Stringer, who coordinated SCA’s assistance to these populations. Outreaches focused on foster care, seniors, Holocaust survivors, law enforcement families, single parent families, refugees, and many others.
Susie Wolf from SCH partner Seniority Services oversaw the distribution of gifts—including blankets, toiletries, socks, and slippers—for 150 seniors from the Jewish community, economically challenged situations, and shut-ins.
“Their expressions of gratitude were reminders to them that they are not forgotten and that they have great value,” Susie said. “Especially in these challenging times, the seeds of kindness go a long way.”
Meanwhile, our chapter in San Antonio donated 500 pairs of Bombas socks to a local homeless shelter. They also provided 200 pairs of socks to Salem-Sayers Academy in Adkins TX to send overseas to areas where the needs are great.
In St. Augustine, our SC chapter held their annual Coats 4 Kids winter clothing drive throughout the month of November.
“This year, nine churches and organizations came together to provide over 400 beautiful, brand new coats, along with bins full of underwear and socks,” said the chapter’s founder, John Clifton. Volunteers packed and sorted the coats by size and gender so they could be distributed by the school district to homeless students.
On the other coast of Florida, our Tampa Bay chapter provided Angel Tree gifts for 42 families, totaling 130 children, who have an incarcerated parent.
“We always add to the gifts with a bag of groceries and a turkey for each family as an additional blessing,” said SCTB’s Kathy Bernard.
SOS Ministries, one of our SC Brazos Valley TX partners, took nearly 30 families Christmas shopping and blessed over 70 children with gifts. Other chapters in the U.S. and in Scotland distributed food for holiday meals from their pantries along with toys for parents to give to their children and teens.
“So many needs are met because of prayers and supportive friends who have come alongside our Somebody Cares Houston office, along with all of our chapters and affiliates,” Lisa said.