Hope In Action

Volunteers with the men from Integrity House – a transitional recovery residence
Michael is on the bottom left.

Sometimes it only takes a pair of underwear and socks to bring hope into someone’s life. This was the case for a young man named Michael living in a halfway house. On Saturday, August 20th, I was honored to serve on a project where volunteers packed 62 Blessing Baskets for men in local halfway houses as part of Inasmuch United Knoxville.

For this project, we filled small laundry baskets with toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, deodorant, soap, socks, underwear, and t-shirts. We loaded the baskets in a church van and delivered them to two halfway houses within a mile of the church.

Upon arrival at the second home, we shared why we were there and the types of things in the baskets. When we mentioned socks and underwear, Michael exclaimed with joy! After unloading all the baskets, we noticed Michael smelling the soap from Buff City Soap as if he were a kid on Christmas morning. All the men were grateful, but there was something special about Michael. His pure joy and appreciation resonated with all of us volunteers.

We spent some time with Michael to hear his story. He shared that he was homeless, living in a car with his mother before he ended up in a hospital due to suicidal thoughts. “It got pretty dark,” he shared. Once discharged from the hospital, he was connected with the halfway house where he has resided for a week. “I knew it was God working. I knew I had to stay put and not get cold feet and leave,” he said about the process of getting into the home.

When asked what it means to receive the blessing basket, he said, “It’s God telling me ‘You see how I work… you see I come through when you need me the most. I’m always on time. Never late.’” He said, “I’ve needed boxers since I got here!” We delivered more than socks and underwear that day; we delivered hope to the hopeless.

The story doesn’t end there… The following morning, Michael and another man from the home attended one of the Inasmuch United Knoxville churches! The men were welcomed warmly by those seated around them, and when the men recognized two of the volunteers who visited and brought baskets the day before, hugs broke out all around! I forgot to mention, they were wearing the new t-shirts we brought! That church is now looking for ways to further serve that halfway house.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

1 Peter 1:13
Written by:
Bobbie Jo Mitchell

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