Rev. Richard Avery, who is doing a fantastic job with our music at WPC, had an idea some time ago to do a concert. First, he thought spring; that didn't happen. Then he thought beginning of the fall; that didn't happen. Finally, Thanksgiving. A benefit concert. There is a fledgling much needed shelter in town generating support, so why not throw in our lot with them. The shelter would be the beneficiary of our efforts. It was great to see the bell choir pull it together and work hard for their part of the performance. The Brinegars played beautifully on their strings, while Bill Taylor tore it up on his trumpet. Wonderful guests, Still Waters, added some lively humorous folksy tunes, and Bettie (?) accompanied the choir marvelously on her French horn. And the choir worked our tails off singing 14 pieces, a variety of music, and we did great! It was hard work, a lot of fun, and we packed house, as well as the shelter reaped the benefits as well. Amazing what can happen with a vision, persistence, and a willing group.
Here was my speech as part of the presentation:
With thanksgiving coming up just this Thursday, we gather together to ask for God’s blessing on the work this city has set out to do. The old Pete’s Pets on Cerrillos Rd, in a joint effort with multiple providers, including St E’s and Youth Shelters, will not only provide shelter, food, and a safe place for this town’s homeless, but let me tell you: There are some big plans underway to do even more. The facility will be transformed over the course of next year to a space where services can be provided, including health care and job training; there will be storage facilities, a full kitchen, showers, and ample space for those who need a place to stay.
We, as a community of religious organizations, individuals, clubs, and groups, are taking on the task.
To operate what is being called Santa Fe – Resource and opportunity center…AKA SF –ROC, takes major commitment from city residents. First, I think that much thought and prayer is in order, for us to collectively arrive at an ideal we hope for those who reside here. Do we want there to be people sleeping on the streets or under bridges who don’t want to be there? Do we want there to be opportunities for those who have caught a bad break or made some bad decisions from which they have not been able to recover. Thought and prayer are essential as we seek to create a better place for everyone.
There is a need for people to volunteer their time. Planning and implementation needs to be done.
Clothes need to be sorted and distributed, and meals to be served. Hosts are needed at the shelter: checking people in, serving food, and facilitating evening operations. There is a need for money. The shelter operation costs $15000 a month. Yes, there is much to take on and we can take this on. And in this small way we are beginning. We are creating awareness, we are putting a small dent on a month’s operational cost. And we’re having a good time doing it!
Jesus said, when the least of these knocked on our doors, and we provided them with shelter and hospitality, we have done it unto him. Thank you for coming, thank you for your donations, which will go entirely to the shelter, and stick around for refreshments, including cheesecake and pound cakes and other treats. Come back anytime if you would like to learn more about how to be involved.
Be at peace and at home in this place.