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worst day today is better than my best day then.” As difficult as it may be for those in need to


walk through the doors of the local shelters, it is often the people on the outside who have the most trouble getting beyond the misconceptions of homelessness. “I would have looked down on a place like this,


thinking that’s were poor people go,” says Heintz of her view on shelters before she experienced a life transformation at Anna Ogden Hall. “A major misconception is that it’s the drunk


screw-up in the alley,” says Viers of people’s perceptions of who seeks the services of Union Gospel Mission or other shelters. “Right now, the biggest need is for the women and children. My hope is that people see it’s easier to raise a healthy child than fix a broken man.” Healthy


children are what Crosswalk’s


Cannon sees when she looks at the kids who seek refuge there. “The kids at Crosswalk are not bad kids,” she says, clearing up one of the most common misconceptions in the community about Crosswalk. “They are talented, intelligent, wonderful kids, but something went wrong in their life and they don’t know how to fix it. Our job isn’t to change their lives, but to create an environment for them to change their own lives.” “A lot of people think homeless individuals


are lazy or just don’t care,” says Union Gospel Mission’s Reese. “Really, it’s the brokenness of their hearts that can’t take any more.” When our fellow citizens are at the point they


can’t take anymore and their hearts are truly broken, are we as a city doing enough to help? In some ways that question is difficult to answer because how do you quantify “enough”? Isaiah 58:10 says, “If you spend yourselves


in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” If we are compelled as a community to reach out and help those in great need, Spokane’s light will rise. The support of the community is what keeps these organization’s doors open and the redemption occurring. Union Gospel Mission accepts no state or


federal funding; rather, it is 100 percent donation and community supported. In 2010 that support totaled over $8.3 million. “It’s amazing,” says Viers. “Even organizations that don’t believe in God believe in the work we are doing here. If we didn’t have the support of the community, we’d be in trouble.” Crosswalk, likewise, relies heavily on the generosity of local churches,


service clubs,


families and businesses, to provide the daily meals, as well as community volunteers who provide tutoring and enrichment. The investment is well worth it. “If it wasn’t for Crosswalk, I wouldn’t be here


today,” says Ford. “I don’t know that I would be functioning.” But she is functioning; functioning and thriving in a life redeemed.


the family www.spokanecda.com 81


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