Hi everyone! Tonight was the night we get to serve dinner at Rare Breed. They steal my heart every single time.

Rare Breed Youth Services is located off the square in downtown Springfield. It’s a two (maybe three) story brick building. It’s a pretty building and it stands alone – with a large field to one side and a parking area to the other. In a small, but crowded, urban downtown it stands out in the fact that it stands alone. Perhaps a fitting metaphor for the children that grace this space – unattached.

When you walk in, the front of the building is devoted to the services made available. The kids check in and can be helped with specific needs or questions. Just past this area is the kitchen – this is where we get to set up shop and serve dinner. They have various organizations and churches that come in every night to serve dinner. (The schedule is fairly consistent, but there are open nights still available if you are interested.) It’s a utilitarian kitchen – bright and open. The back is where the kids can come and finally relax – feel safe, unwind. There are laundry facilities along with showers and toiletries made available. There is an exercise room, craft area, and computer room. I’m still learning all the various services that are provided but I can tell you that it is not enough. The staff is unstoppable but it takes a wide variety of people willing to make this their passion to really branch out and offer these kids a fighting chance.

_______________________________________________________________________________

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela

_______________________________________________________________________________

I sit here and I stare a the keyboard and I try to figure out what the magic combination of words are to convey all the feelings that Rare Breed raises up in me. I am tempted to walk away if I’m honest. To just walk away and forget all about it because I’m so overwhelmed and humiliated by the amount of need and my inadequate response. I want to fix it all and just like I wrote last time – I can not do enough. I will never be able to do enough. And while admitting that it is fine, to not do enough in the confines of a nice safe blog post, confronting my lack in the face of a young person whose story starts with, “I was beat up yesterday and stabbed today,” is a far different reality. (Actual comment overheard.)

These kids are not polished, well spoken, clean cut kids that are down on their luck. Some of them are pretty rough. Some of them have substance issues. You can just tell. Too many of them have babies of their own. I can’t tell you what they do with their days or if they make good choices. As a matter of fact, I can guess that by our standards their choices are probably not the best. They use rough language and I’m sure many can be unkind. I can’t say that all the resources in the world would turn things around for each one. But it will help some of them. It will make a difference for some.

Despite their circumstances, they are so appreciative of the meals. They make a point to say thank you and they are sincere. I see an earnest face that says thank you and I just want to sink through the floor because one night a month is not enough. I’ve done nothing. I wish I could just ask them all to pray for me. For all of us. In the land of plenty, we are failing these kids.

They are just kids – brains not yet formed to the point to understand the long term implications of their actions. Kids, ill equipped to survive in a world that is a kill or be killed existense. Kids with no one to tenderly hug them and tell them they are loved and valued. And I wonder about their parents – what pain they too may be going through. I wonder if it their situations stem from poverty, lack of education, mental health issues never properly diagnosed and treated, or just bad luck. Perhaps their parents kicked them out – a decision made from a position of pain. Do they know where their babies are right now? Do they care?

_______________________________________________________________________________
“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” Wess Staffod, Compassion International
_______________________________________________________________________________

I was able to speak with Justin tonight. He is the current program director at Rare Breed. I told him that we have a group of 15 people that are willing to help. He was really excited and thought of several ways that a monthly income of funds could help. We talked about the best way to get the funds to the kids in ways that would help. He mentioned a few different things – one is monthly bus passes for the ones that use public transportation for school and jobs. So that will be one thing we will be helping to fund. I told him that we would trust him to use the funds as he sees fit since the needs can changes unexpectedly.

Justin and the people that volunteer day in and day out at Rare Breed – they will be the collateral beneficiaries of your generosity. It may be difficult to find the funds to dedicate every month – but it is nothing compared to what these folks do. I think that many times they must feel hopeless and a bit abandoned. How must it feel to live in the most religious country in the world and yet have to serve homeless and hurting children. Our gifts will allow them to fill real needs, but it will also send a message that their efforts are seen and appreciated.

I also spoke with my church and we are going to establish an online giving option specifically for Rare Breed. I’ll be posting the link on Monday. This will allow anyone from anywhere in the country to go in and make a monthly contribution to Rare Breed. I am the treasurer right now for the church so I can personally assure that the funds earmarked for Rare Breed will be delivered each month. In addition, this will allow us to provide tracking of your giving and an end of year statement. Streamlining the giving through The Commons will also alleviate some of the administrative burden at Rare Breed.

For those local – I’ll be posting here about opportunities to volunteer or specific needs that they have throughout the year. As always, the first Thursday of the month we will be serving dinner and I would love to see some of you join us. If you have a group that would like to pick up another night I can get you in contact with the right people. We have an amazing lady from The Common’s that wrangles all of us each month to put together a nice meal for the kids – she is amazing!

_______________________________________________________________________________
“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.” Bono
_______________________________________________________________________________

Part of me wants to be careful here and not push to far – but I’m going to ignore that part of me.
Please give. Please find $10 or $20 a month (or more!) that you would be willing to give to Rare Breed. Please share this post and ask your friends to give. We will add them to the facebook group and they will get the link on Monday. You’ll be able to schedule a recurring amount each month to make it easier. We have people that are local and we have people that are out of town – and I’m so thankful. As many of you know, this idea came about when we worked the Christmas party in December and saw hundreds of kids standing in line for several hours in the cold waiting to come in. It was the only Christmas many of them had.

I can vouch for this place. I can tell you that I’ve stood in the building, I’ve looked the kids in the eye, and they need us. More importantly – we need them. We need to be a part of this.

I don’t usually do this – but please share this post! Please get the word out. My original hope was to have 100 people signed up and I still believe there are another 85 people out there that just need to hear about these kids.

If you want to be a part of this please comment on facebook or send me a message. I can add you to the Rare Breed group we have set up. That will provide links to the online giving site (starting Monday) – and also updates on what current needs are or volunteer opportunities.
_______________________________________________________________________________

(null)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: