I was struggling with a heavy container of silverware, preparing for another Wednesday meal at Haywood Street, when the hand-made sign caught my eye. HOMELESS PLEASE HELP. My first thoughts were of sympathy for the person who must have accidentally left the one thing that might get them noticed on the side of the road. I decided to leave it hanging on the wall beneath the collection of crosses, in hopes that the owner would reclaim it at the next meal.

The next week, waiting in the dining room for a meeting, I noticed the sign still hanging in the same place. Not knowing to whom it belonged, I began speculating about the story attached to that piece of cardboard. Is the owner still looking for it, disappointed that his chance of buying a meal or a cup of coffee is lost? Is it easy enough to find a marker and an old box to make another sign? Was the sign left behind for another person to use? Or, was it simply forgotten? I clung to this last thought as I stared at the nearly camouflaged sign tucked into a corner of the wall…a wall covered in crosses and art. That wall is a symbol of hope at Haywood Street. The crosses are obvious symbols of forgiveness and unconditional love. The paintings (created by Haywood Street friends during Art Day) represent the gifts and talents that lie just below the surface of stained, tattered clothes and the dark circles of exhaustion. They represent moments of peace, refuge, and fellowship where the struggles of the day and the looming night are temporarily forgotten.

Did someone simply forget their troubles as they gathered around the table, filling their stomachs and their souls with nourishment? Is it possible that the moments spent sharing a meal and connecting with friends (old or new) relieve folks of their burdens, even if only for an hour? I’d like to think that whoever walked into our dining room with that plea for help found what he was looking for and no longer needed to cry out. Someone reached out to him, perhaps, and allowed him to leave the church with a sense of hope.

Haywood Street Volunteer


  1. Sandra Strauss says:

    Thanks Wren! Very nice and beautifully written! Shows great compassion! Love you!

  2. I am struck by the placement of the sign among the crosses. Our Lord was homeless and had a special compassion for the poor. That placement seems such a message of truth…our Savior, who was homeless, needs US to please help to fulfill his mission on earth…”the Lord has anointed ME to preach good news to the poor. He has sent ME to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 1-4

  3. Touching article, Wren – feel blessed to be in ministry with you.
    Joy @ Fletcher

Speak Your Mind