Ministry offers hope to homeless

Path of Life Ministries is a non-profit organization serving the homeless in the Riverside area with a purpose to rescue, restore and rebuild the lives of those struggling.

Path of Life extends its love and support not only to individuals and families throughout Riverside are affected by homelessness, but to all those who feel hopeless.

They welcome people of all walks of life, from people who are employed but have lost their homes or individuals who suffer from mental illnesses. People of all ages are welcome, but more than half of those Path of Ministry provides services to are children.

Path of Life Ministries offers 50 bed shelters for families, while a year-round community shelter offers 64 beds to single individuals in need.

“The weather really dictates the demand,” said Janice Rooths, vice president of finance and administration at Path of Life Ministries. “We are generally full anyway, but if it’s colder and rainy then there’s a long line of people waiting.”

With winter approaching, Path of Life Ministries must begin preparing for the changes in weather. From Dec. 1 to April 5, cold weather shelters are offered to the homeless. At this time 65 beds are added to the original 64.

Rooths said it is difficult to give shelter to all who show up.

“They line up and the first that show up will (have beds) and then we can’t let anyone else in,” Rooth said.

Students are able to get involved in making a difference in the lives of the homeless in the community by donating food, clothing and time through volunteerism. Ideal food items include unexpired and sealed canned food, beverages and bottled baby formula. In addition, because of the approaching cold weather, gently used water-resistant jackets are requested, along with unused clothing and undergarments.

Adam Goodwin, junior biomedical engineering major, is involved with homeless ministries in Riverside and said he felt like God had laid on his heart to work with those on the streets the summer before he started at California Baptist University. Once he got involved consistently, Goodwin said he learned so much about the character of God and how God saw homelessness.

“I came to the greater understanding of the love of God and also the brokenness that is in our backyard,” Goodwin said.  “The idea of passively walking by (homelessness) and doing nothing is not a passive stance.”

Goodwin said it makes him think of the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10 and passing by someone in need is like the Levite and the priest passing by the Samaritan.

“When we walk by a street and see our neighbor sitting on the side of the road with a grocery cart and he stinks and he’s addicted to some drug, our response should not be, ‘he got himself there,’ but instead, ‘I’m going to love you the same way Jesus loved me,” Goodwin said.

About Darlene Mercado

Opinion Editor

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