“I am blessed,” said AJ as we handed him two burritos and a water bottle.
AJ is a homeless man who fell on hard times. Moved back to Memphis to care for his ill parents and when they passed, he wasn’t able to find a job. He is currently looking for work (hotel or restaurant industry) and has an attitude about life that we could all learn from.
Wednesday night I rode with Urban Bicycle Food Ministry (UBFM). It was my first time back after a several month hiatus. It w
as 32 degrees when I left my condo and rode down to the church.
By the time I arrived at First United Methodist on 2nd Street, I could barely feel my hands and my feet were feeling the cold. It was only the beginning.
UBFM is one of my favorite ministries in the city of Memphis because I get to know the people who live on the streets of Memphis; my homeless friends. Each Wednesday night the group gathers at the church. They make burritos and care packages and head out on three or four different routes.
Each route touches key parts of downtown and midtown; giving food and fellowship to anyone in need.
I love meeting people, asking their names, looking them in the eye and giving them a moment of my time. Truth is, they give me their time too and we both walk away smiling.
AJ, who we met not far from the church, was the first recipient of our food Wednesday night but there were so many others. People who were spending the night on the streets, using what they had to stay warm.
It was the coldest night of the year the far and by the end of our adventures, my feet were num and my nose was frozen. Lucky for me, I could ride my bike home to a warm place, change into a warm outfit and sleep in my warm bed.
This morning when I woke up to frost on the ground, ice on the roads, I couldn’t help but think of them. I got dressed for work, bundled up for the coverage and saw how the unexpected precipitation overnight impacted the morning commute.
But I can’t imagine what it felt like for those people who had to wake up outside and in the cold.
UBFM rides every Wednesday at 7:30 pm and Saturday mornings at 8:00 am. Volunteers gather at First United Methodist Church (204 N. Second St. in downtown Memphis). The need is great and the power of a moment is even greater.
We may not be able to fix all the problems in our city…but for a moment we can give someone our time and a snack. And be reminded that “WE ARE BLESSED.”
(If you’d like to make donations – money, clothes, food or shoes – visit www.ubfm.net)