“Kindness is like snow- It beautifies everything it covers”

-Kahlil Gibran

 

Winter is usually a time when students rejoice over snow days, even if you don’t like being outside when it’s snowing you can sip your hot chocolate and watch the snowflakes from the inside.

Think about how much children love the winter time.

Even if you don’t like the winter, think about how you look forward to staying inside safe and warm. I, myself, love to stay inside on a snow day, not having to worry about the cold or school. Just me a blanket, book and my art supplies.

Now think about the people who don’t have homes.Certainly, there is no wood burning fireplace to cozy up to, no furnace to keep the rooms warm and no cozy bedroom corner to curl up with a book or my favorite set of chalk pastels.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, about 700 homeless people freeze to death each year.

I think in weather like we have been experiencing in the last week, we all find ourselves grateful for a warm home.

Although, many people realize that homelessness is a problem, very few have the courage to take action and try to help not only the homeless, but those with alcohol and substance abuse.

Among the few in our area is the Community Intervention Center in Scranton, PA, a place where making a difference has a new meaning.

 

“We rise by lifting others”

-Robert Ingersollˆ

 

I originally found out about the Community Intervention Center, or CIC for short, because my big brother, Gabriel, has been giving out ‘blessings bags’ filled with helpful products to homeless centers, and this one really stuck out.

After hearing Gabriel’s stories of the people he met and the work that CIC is doing I knew I wanted to do my part.

 

The facility was originally founded in 1972, and was called ‘The Rap House.’

The Community Intervention Center’s mission was to provide information referrals, crisis intervention, and situational advising to people who would need it at no expense and no need for an appointment.

Then, CIC became the first licensed drug and alcohol facility in Lackawanna County as a drop-in center in 1973.

This center provides medical treatments, alcohol and drug recovery treatments, mental health emergency intake, hot meals, warm coats, use of showers, yoga for de-stressing, and so much more.

A man named Jason,a Social Worker who works in Supportive Housing and is a Outreach Manager at Community Intervention Center, has contributed to this facility for about 20 years. Jason states that about 60 to 80 people come to CIC every day in need of help.

“The people that come here... they are the people whose parents gave up on them, their family gave up on them, just everyone gave up on them,” he states.

Many people who end up at CIC sadly have alcohol or drug problems, mental health issues, or have been abused.

“Even after all we have tried to do to help them become better, some people just go right back to doing what they were doing before, and we often hear that these people have died because of drug overdoses or problems because of drinking.

“We can’t get mad at these people though because it’s hard to get better from all they have been through…”says Jason.

 

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” - Saint Teresa of Calcutta

 

There is a beautiful and sad commercial from State Farm I saw recently, that has a man singing “Don’t you forget about me…” My mom said it was a song from the movie ‘The Breakfast Club.”

As the man begins to sing, you can see a festive holiday gathering with many, many people.

Then near the end, he still is singing the same words but to a nearly empty room.

It gives the impression to the viewer it is a shelter of some sort. It’s easy to remember those with less around Thanksgiving and Christmas, during those seasons we are often ‘reminded’ of our call to serve. Our challenge is the random Tuesday, Friday or anyday for that matter, in the absence of a holiday, to remember that we belong to each other.

Currently, Community Intervention Center is especially in need of coffee supplies, as in coffee, creamers, sugar, stirrers, paper coffee cups, etc., but there is so much more you can do to help people around you.

Even though we might help out during the holiday season, the homeless and abused still need our help year round.

Try donating to homeless shelters, dedicate a day during the weekend or a break to help out at a local soup kitchen.

There are people who need your help; Go and do. Who knows, maybe I’ll professionally help those in need just like Jason and his team at CIC someday.

I do know I’m called to do more, whenever I can.

 

“Change your words. Change the world.”

-Andrea Gardner