Breakfast at the Men's Shelter

Many thanks to these Holy Cross volunteers that came out to help serve breakfast to the men at the shelter.

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Faith in Action served breakfast to the men at Catholic Charities Men's Shelter at 6:30 am on January 18th. The temperatures dropped to below zero on Saturday, but Sunday morning it was a balmy 25 degrees. When the volunteers arrive, we announce the good news of the warming trend, but the sleepy men who will spend the day on the street are not comforted by still-frigid temperature.

During the harshest winter months, the shelter overflows with up to 150 men seeking refuge. At 6 am, the men move slowly, rubbing their eyes and perking up at the sight of volunteers setting up griddles for a pancake breakfast. We move quickly because the men are required to leave the shelter by 7:30am. Breakfast slows them down as they gather their belongings, assessing what went missing while they slept.

Our griddles are slow this morning, and the men wait patiently in line to be served. One man asks to be first in line because he is headed for work unlocking the doors to a church a few miles away. While they wait, they drink orange juice and coffee. We try to entertain with jokes and warm smiles, hoping that we can offer a pleasant start to a wintery day in Syracuse. Water bottles and fruit are stashed in their pockets before heading out the door. These men can look forward to a day consumed with the struggle to survive. I don’t know what circumstances caused them to be homeless and desperate for shelter, but I pray that the love we show by our actions today will bring them a renewed respect for themselves and an awareness our community’s desire that they be restored to wholeness.

In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis reminds us as Christians “ remain steadfast in our intention to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to bear one another’s burdens.”

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