Wednesday, December 10, 2008

“Out of the box” thinking needed—part 3.

A few more dahlia pics before getting to the blog. These dahlias are from my 2008 garden. The dahlias in the order they appear are: Narrow’s Tricia, Nanakazi, Oretti Adele and Pam Howden. Check out my dahlia web site (The Dahlia Guy) for the complete set of photos and more dahlia information.

This series of posts is looking at creative ideas for meeting the needs of those in, and around, our congregations and communities during these difficult economic times. The ideas I have suggested to this point are:
• Idea #1: Host a community garden at the church.
• Idea #2: Free lunches for seniors two or three times a week.

The third idea came from an observation from our Thanksgiving dinner delivery team. We work through a local, high need, elementary school. The school sends out a notice that there is assistance available for families in need. Families respond to the school with information on the family: number of people, ages and what the kids would like for Christmas. Our delivery teams noticed a new tendency—families sharing housing during these difficult economic times. Homes where we expected one parent with two kids might have had another parent (a sibling, for example) move in with his, or her, children. This living situation makes it cheaper for both families. This brings me to idea #3.

Idea #3: shared housing.

Lavern and Shirley (fictitious names representing real people) were two elderly women at Evergreen when I was first called to be the pastor of the church. These elderly ladies each lived in mobile homes and had very little in the way of money. Lavern had recently moved into a “new” double-wide mobile home because her son and moved in with her. Finances were still very tight. Shirley began to have some “balance” issues—she fell a couple of times. Things were getting to the point where Shirley could not live alone—she could not afford to move into a retirement home. Lavern and Shirley came up with the idea of shared housing. Shirley helped out with the payment on the mobile home; Lavern helped Shirley with things some things that she could not do on her own. The living situation worked well until Shirley’s health took a serious turn for the worse and she had to move into a nursing home.

Shared housing could be one way of coping with these challenging financial times. Our churches have people that have “empty” rooms in their homes. Maybe, just maybe, these rooms could be opened up to those in the church family that are in need. Many seniors live by themselves in larger houses. Is it possible that they could share their housing with a friend in need?

Just a thought.


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