By Jalna Jones
Last week, I took some time to read the whole of the prophet Amos in Scripture. He was a simple shepherd when God called upon him to carry his message to the people at that time. He lived in the 700’s BCE and is often called the prophet of justice. His prophecy was one of divine judgment calling the Jewish people back to the high moral and religious demands of God’s revelation. He was a tough cookie! He reminds us that God always sees and knows what we are doing or not doing to help the poor. I sighed a lot when reading his tough words.
Then I re-read some of Luke’s Gospel, a favorite of mine. You know that more than any of the other Gospel writers, Luke emphasized the care and concern that Jesus had for the poor, the downtrodden, and those on the fringes of society. He reminds us that as Christ’s followers and disciples we are called to bring the good news to the poor.
This brings me to the point of this article. You are probably aware that Crosslines, the ecumenical wing of the Upshur Cooperative Parish House, has been operating at a steady pace for at least 25 years. During that time, we have helped over 16,000 families find housing, assisted with utility bills, provided food and personal items and cleaning supplies to those in need. On any given week, we may see up to a hundred individuals who have families. We have limited our help to those living in Upshur County or whose children attend Upshur schools. In the past, we have helped with motel accommodations for the homeless, gas vouchers for those with doctor appointments out of town, even bus tickets for the stranded out-of-towner. We are no longer able to help with those items due to increased numbers of people needing help and other considerations.
Did you know that every month several of our retired citizens quietly bring in small checks or monetary donations for Crosslines? Many of these folks are living on fixed incomes and yet, they come faithfully every month.
Working the help desk every week, I see the struggles of many of our residents. Many are older Americans with a very limited income. Some are struggling to raise their children with adequate food, clothing, and shelter. Many are embarrassed to ask for help. Some cry in the quiet of the office; we often pray together.
Winter is fast approaching, even as our temperatures are still in the summer range. But soon people will need firewood to heat their homes, or pellets for their stoves to keep the house warm. Because of the inconsistency of job guarantees in our county, many will find themselves unable to pay their gas or electric bills. The need will increase as the winter steams ahead in January February, and March.
And, so I ask for your help…. Would you consider giving a monthly check to Crosslines to help us meet the requirements of this county’s needy? It does not have to be a tremendously large check. A $25 or $50 monthly check would guarantee that we can continue to help our neighbors in need. Just as you probably give to your church every week or month, why not continue to assist in helping God’s people in Upshur County? All people deserve dignity and respect, as we are all created in the image of God and meant to reflect God’s goodness to the world. Your ongoing help at Crosslines would make a world of difference. Please consider this request seriously. We are operating at a loss right now and but for the goodness of the Parish House would have had to shut our doors … which we never want to do!
I invite you to come have lunch with us on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday to see our beautiful community and those who volunteer to make it so. Please join us at noon on any of those days. You will see Love in action!
In Psalm 96, we are reminded: “Give to the Lord, you families of nations….” By giving and doing for others, those less fortunate than we, we “give to the Lord.” AMEN