My mom holds a special place in my heart.
Her tireless love and perseverance with me —despite my many foolish and futile choices—have had a profound impact on my life. Perhaps this is why God chooses to illustrate his love for the vulnerable and his unwillingness to forget the destitute by comparing his heart to a mother’s:
“Is it possible for a mother, however disappointed, however hurt, to forget her nursing child? Can she feel nothing for the baby she carried and birthed? Even if she could, I, God, will never forget you. Look here. I have made you a part of Me, written you on the palms of My hands.”
Isaiah 49:15-16 Voice
During the pandemic, and even well before it, one of the most overlooked populations in our community has been single parents, and specifically mothers of young children displaced from homes and families.
When we walk with God, we will begin to exercise and share the same heart God has for those around us–especially those who are alone, whose needs are overlooked in a crowded world. In fact, the book of James tells us that the greatest evidence of walking with God is not how committed we are to attending religious activities or “talking a good game.” It’s when we reach out to the “homeless and loveless in their plight.”
Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
James 1:26 MSG
This is why Amy and I are so inspired this week by the San Francisco campus students, professionals, and families in our church. They not only saw a need among displaced mothers and children in the City, but decided to meet it with open hearts and hands.
Elizabeth Schaffernoth and Faith Molinari recently partnered with the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco (HPPSF)—a nationally-recognized family resource center that empowers homeless and low-income families, and especially mothers, to find the strength and confidence they need to transform their lives. HPPSF serves well-over 3,500 low-income and unhoused families annually. They provide a variety of programs and services to help families become healthy, stable, and self-sufficient.
Elizabeth and Faith, together with their friends in San Francisco and beyond, decided to take the initiative to meet the needs of unhoused pregnant women and new mothers with their children, by taking action every month to provide essential goods. The thought of these women being pregnant or raising a newborn while experiencing the stress of homelessness, especially during a pandemic, was unfathomable to them. So Elizabeth and Faith with their roommates and friends decided to host the first ever “Onesie Drive” for HPPSF, collecting clothes and essential items for infants and toddlers such as diapers, toys, hygienic goods, special care packages for mothers and personalized cards for the families.
This has been met with overwhelming community support from Elizabeth’s friends and co-workers at University High School, Faith’s friends and classmates from SF State and University of San Francisco, as well as coworkers from their friend Chris Galdamez’s company (who also joined in the effort with Elizabeth and Faith). Their extended families have also been inspired to help and contribute.
Not only are the needs of newborns and mothers in need being met, but others in the community outside the Bay Area have also started coming together by sending in donations.
Over the past two weeks, the Onesie Drive has collected over 350 onesies in addition to several hundred dollars, with more continuing to be donated.
Christianity is a relationship religion, not a sedentary one. It inspires us and those around us to care and put compassion into action. There are needs we see and come across every day, and our relationships and faith grow when we decide to respond together.
Let’s decide to exercise our faith in God by taking initiative to meet those needs today! In this way, God can move through us to change the world and the lives of countless others!
Till next week,
Ray & Amy Kim
Lead Ministers, San Francisco