The What And Why Of Our Resource Clinic In Bristol

Wednesday through Saturday of last week we held our 3rd annual Resource Clinic for the homeless in Bristol, VA. It was scorching hot each day as we put up tents and folding chairs on the black asphalt parking lot that was situated in the perfect location on a busy street corner in the downtown area.

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To say it was a successful week would be an understatement. As a matter of fact, I think we had bigger crowds than we have ever had at one of our resource clinics and that surprised us all.

In four days, 785 men, women and children attended the event. Many of them came every day and out of the 785 total attendance count, there were at least 289 different people.

Some of these folks sleep on the streets. Some of them stay off and on at the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission and others are residents at the local Salvation Army. Many of the families that came live nearby and although they’re not homeless, they simply needed the help we had to offer.

Over 100 hard working volunteers helped during the week and it would have been impossible without them.

Here are some results from the four day event and the reasons why we offer them.

Each day there was a hot meal that was served by Soup for the Soul, a local ministry. They served:
600 hot dogs
200 plates of spaghetti
4 gallons of slaw
4 gallons of beans
400 BBQ sandwiches
250 bowls of cobbler
225 biscuits
200 pieces of sausage
4 gallons of gravy
400 pancakes

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Wow!

The reason for the meals is simple. People are hungry. There are also some other benefits to serving a meal each day that you might not have considered. For example, the meal time is one of the greatest opportunities for fellowship and getting to know the guests. It provides a great environment for breaking the ice, conversation seems to come naturally around the dinner table.

116 guests got haircuts.

Don’t you love to get a haircut? It makes you feel fresher and gives you confidence because you are well groomed. Most of the people who attend our resource clinics have to make hard decisions each month with their money and all too often simple things like a haircut is not considered because there is not enough money to go around.

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But that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to look nice and groomed. A fresh haircut is, of course, also helpful for someone who is job hunting.

Special thanks to Pastor Todd Crusenberry who cut many of them himself. Also, Exalt Academy, a local cosmetology school sent students over each day. They were a tremendous help and blessing.

448 guests received clothing.

During the week many of the volunteers brought clothes to give away. Most of them came from Community Baptist Church’s clothing closet and on Saturday our friend Chris Russell brought a big load of clothing as he does at all of the resource clinics.

When you live on the streets your clothing takes a beating. Sometimes you have to wear the same garments over and over again without washing them. The constant wear and tear from the harsh enviroment causes them to wear faster than normal so something new is a real blessing.

Like a fresh haircut, a new set of clothes gives confidence and helps to restore a normal feeling, if only for a little while.

 
150 guests received Bibles

I hope that the reason behind giving away Bibles is a no-brainer to you. The Bible is God’s precious, holy word, and without it we are lost in this difficult world we live in

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We give away free copies of the Bible because we understand that reading and meditating on God’s word is a vital part of spending time with him. Apart from prayer, the very best activity we can do everyday is to read and study the Bible. Therefore, we make giving away Bibles a priority at all of our resource clinics.

265 guests received reading glasses

Like many other health aspects, eyesight is all too often neglected among people who are battling homelessness. Many of our guest are older and their eyesight is failing and a good pair of reading glasses is very helpful to them.

Having reading glasses can even help to reduce headaches that are associated with straining to read. We now have a contact in Bristol who is going to help us offer free eye exams at next years clinic. Wouldn’t it be a blessing if we could give eye exams and prescription glasses to those who needed them?

Help us pray that this lead pans out and we are able to do what it takes to add prescription glasses to our resources next year.

419 guests received hygiene gift bags

These gift bags included items such as deodorant, tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, shampoo and many more items for the body.

Living on the streets is a hygiene challenge. I believe that most people who have improper hygiene are unsatisfied and want to take better care of themselves. This is evident in the number of these items we give away. Everyone seems to want to have what it takes to stay clean and fresh and we are happy to provide it.

12 guest got medical check ups

We only had the nurse with us for one day this year but one day is better than none! Healthcare is one of the biggest issues when it comes to homelessness.

With that thought in mind, we offer limited medical screening which includes things like blood pressure checks, blood sugar readings, basic first aid and more.

26 birth certificates were applied for

Your birth certificate is a very important document. If you have lost everything, your job, your belongings and all of your identification, then you will begin to understand that you need your birth certificate before you can make to many moves to put the pieces of your life back together.

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Since our ministry is designed to give people a hand up and not just a hand out, we assist in applying for this all important piece of identification. We simply help them fill out the correct paperwork and then we write a check and send it off. Most states charge between $12-20 for a certified copy.

8 people were saved and 4 people rededicated their lives

This is the single biggest reason we do what we do. We desire to share the gospel and lead people to faith in Christ.

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In the end, we can assist people with every resource imaginable but if we fail to share the gospel with them then we have failed all together. The reason is that all of the resources are temporary, but our souls are eternal. We will lose our stuff, but our souls will live forever in heaven or in hell.

Each day we passed out dozens of gospel tracts and we held a revival service each evening with great singing and preaching. I’m glad to report that we are keeping the main thing the main thing! And the main thing is preaching the gospel to every creature.

In conclusion

I want to thank Pastor Ed Crusenberry, Pastor Tim Crusenberry, Pastor Rex Carter and Pastor Todd Crusenberry for making this years event happen.

Also, the members of their respective churches are the ones who volunteered and gave to make it such a big success and I was really impressed with their faithfulness and cooperation throughout the week.

Thank you!