Tiara Hlaing did NYCUP Summer in 2011 with some amazing people of God. Four years later, she is still following Jesus and inviting others to do likewise. This month, she led her own Feed 500 in Houston, Texas. When you give to NYCUP, you're not just investing in NYC, but the family of God all over the country. Here's her story!
This past Sunday, we had a number of people gather from different churches and stages in life, in an initiative to feed the homeless in Houston. It was a packed but very fruitful and insightful day for everyone involved.
"At 11:30am, the church gym was full of people helping prepare sack lunches that we’d be taking out to share. Others spent time writing uplifting encouragement notes and prayers to leave with the people we’d meet. There must have been at least 40 people helping out.
At some point, a pair of sisters showed up who said they had randomly found our event online by googling “charity events in Houston to feed the homeless”. They came just to help prep, and to drop off 45 self-prepared bags of toiletries as well as a cash donation. They’re a pair of 36-year-old twin sisters who are both doctors who’ve moved to Houston recently and own a non-profit together that helps minority women excel in math and science. It was so encouraging getting to talk to them.
After that, we switched gears and Chris led us in a great training for the outreach portion of the event. Most of the people who went out had never done anything like this before. Although some had had experience giving out food or volunteering at food pantries, most hadn’t actually sat down and had a conversation with them before. There was some anxiety, but generally lots of excitement.
We had seven groups go out to four locations, with a total of 25 participants who ranged from 6 to 36 years old. Every group seemed to have a positive experience. Across the groups, we met a wide array of people from all different backgrounds and experiences. Some of us were able to discuss faith and God. Many actually received a lot of advice from and were actually ministered to by the people met on the streets. It was humbling and encouraging to see their desire to care for us in that way.
I shared before that it was my hope and prayer that barriers would be broken down and that the homeless would feel loved, and I believe God answered that prayer, along with many others. Things really went quite smoothly, and none of us were hit with the 80% chance of rain weather.com had warned me of all week leading up.
Across the board, the participants who went out for the outreach said they would like to do this again. Pretty much everyone shared during debrief or later that they were taken aback by how there really isn’t much that sets us apart from those on the streets, because in reality, we are all broken people. One man who participated in Feed 500 was able to empathize with a woman he met about all the struggles he has going on in his own life and told both her and us that really, he’s one paycheck away from being on the streets just as she is. I think this experience, and especially acknowledging that we weren’t doing charity, but really just going out to love on people, not only broke our walls down, but it also really impacted those we met.
Praise God for blessing us with this opportunity to love on others and to learn so much ourselves. We got a lot of feedback that people want to do it again and that they even want to start some self-initiated projects, such as making care packages. I am earnestly hoping that this is something we all can continue to do more regularly, and I pray this effort will continue to make an impact in Houston.
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, participated, and prayed. Round 1 went great! A lot happened on Sunday, and I really trust that even this one day will go a long way in its benefits to both the people who did the outreach and those who were met.
If you want to participate in a future Feed 500, please let me know, as I’m already looking into planning the next one."
This is why we do what we do and the LOGOFF Movement will take this to the next level!