Auburn Students Visit Tent City Homeless

March 01, 2010 | Jondelle McGhee

The second weekend of January marked the first of several trips Auburn Adventist Academy students took to a homeless encampment in Seattle, Wash. In the self-proclaimed city of "Nickelsville," more than 60 homeless people banded together to create an infrastructure of leadership to govern their community and keep themselves safe.

To this gathering came 22 Academy students, armed with snacks, songs and a spirit of service. "When we arrived, everyone was so hospitable," says Rachael Coon, a senior from Sedro Woolley, Wash. "We unloaded supplies and ended up singing praise songs with them."

"The people were so warm, so gracious and so appreciative," says Mark Weir, chaplain, who had previously visited Nickelsville and planned the outreach event. "After the students spent time at the tent city, everyone came back saying, 'These are people we can help!'"

While taking part in the homeless ministry, one such student felt impressed to do more. "We've just started the AAA Roadside Rescue," says Rory Ross, a senior from Federal Way, Wash. "We are gathering supplies to share with the homeless on the streets. Like Jesus, we want to fulfill their physical needs first and then meet their spiritual needs."

In addition to placing bins in the school hallways, calls have also been made to local businesses. "We spoke with people from Wal-Mart and Taco Bell who are pledging their support to the cause," says Russell Palmer, taskforce dean and sponsor of the Roadside Rescue ministry.

As God impresses the hearts of AAA young people to reach out to those in need, the impact of their enthusiasm is contagious.