Last night I was part of a miracle that I still cannot believe happened. I had to get up this morning just to watch the video a few times for it all to sink in. This miracle was broadcast to the world in real-time via social media. And to be honest Twitter played the biggest role in giving smiles to a homeless family’s first night in shelter system.
Instead of writing a bunch of words I thought I’d cut out a few tweets so you can see the miracle unfold just like everyone else did last night.
The winter shelter is no place for children so we drive families to a hotel and voucher them until we can find a more permanent solution. This single mom was living in a van with her 9 year-old son. When the city towed their van they lost EVERYTHING! I checked the family into hotel and then took them grocery shopping. Mom told me they desperately needed a change of clothes. Another woman at the shelter has an urgent need for clothes so I broadcast the needs via twitter.
Because the only clothes this mother and child had were on their backs I didn’t feel we could wait another day. I searched the GPS on my phone and the closest store was Walmart. I tweet I was headed there. Soon I received this.
Pastor Matthew called me. He asked me to pick out a nice toy for the boy and suggested a Nintendo DS. The Los Angeles Dream Center is the church that helped me off the streets. Matthew Barnett has been caring for homeless people for over a decade. He knows people without housing cannot carry lots of stuff so a portable video game is a perfect gift. Even typing this now thinking about last night I get emotional. Last night I was a wreck!
Response was immediate and overwhelming. Here are just a very few:
For as long as I can remember I have hated this time of year. As a tradition I keep wherever I live ‘Christmas free’ to escape the holiday madness. No Christmas music, no Christmas decorations, and especially NO CHRISTMAS TREES! To reflect my holiday ‘mood’ I even change my avatar to the mean Grinch. While rushing to Walmart I must have been out of my mind and tweet that if someone helped this 9 year-old boy I’d change my avatar, and if someone helped the woman with clothes I’d get a tree.
I will be getting a tree this weekend! Merry Christmas!
Last night I learned that to see miracles one must be in a place where miracles happen – that place is helping other people.
Thanks to Union Rescue Mission and PATH Achieve Glendale for taking care of homeless families at the winter shelters around Los Angeles. Very special thanks to Matthew Barnett and everyone who donated to help give a little extra love this holiday season!