Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
To those media outlets and voices that speak against our community, painting us as heartless as we seek to find solutions to the issues of homelessness I say, “Not true! Manteca is a ‘Family City’!”
Those who are quick to criticize have no clue as to the fabric of our community. Per capita I would put Manteca up against any city in America when it comes to generosity, service, volunteerism, and love of God and country. Homelessness is a challenging issue to be sure, but we are on it! There are answers and we aim to find them sooner than later.
The circumstances of life are such that finding oneself without a home happens to many people in their lifetime. It could happen to anyone. Folks in that situation who need a hand up deserve that chance. Jesus said, “The poor you will have with you always.” He also said, “Cloth the naked.” Those instructions were given to believers, those who ascribe to His teachings. To believers everywhere, together we must become the net that catches those who are in free fall toward hopelessness. Feeding and clothing is a must. Wherever there is a hungry or cold person in our community we must respond, no questions asked. I am confident, knowing the heart of our church community, this need will be met.
There was a man who was born crippled, who was carried each day and laid beside the pool where he begged for money. This went on for 38 years. Jesus passed his way and upon seeing him said, “Sir do you want to be healed?” To be healed meant a life change: no longer could the man beg, he’d have to get a job; the days of being waited on would be over. “Sir are you sure you want to be healed?” Not everyone wants a hand up and until they do, healing is out of reach. Feed and cloth yes, but we are limited to do anymore until the question, “Do you want to be healed?” is answered. For those who answer “yes” there is help!
The Summit was a great step in the right direction. The gathering of those who provide resources was very helpful. I for one did not realize the tremendous resources being offered by so many different organizations. By providing a Resource Center in our community we all can be a part of the answer. Those seeking a helping hand can be informed about the center and encouraged to take advantage of the services. Those who have chosen to lay each day beside the pool and beg, we can only pray that each time we feed them or cloth them we will have the opportunity to embrace them and urge them to reach out and take the hand that will help them up.
Let’s get behind Police Chief Nick Obligacion and move quickly to address the need. This will take effort on the part of the good people of our community, but we can do it.
Pastor Mike Dillman