MEA Students Work for Warmth

November 21, 2017 | Michael Lee

Several students and staff from Mount Ellis Academy (MEA) in Bozeman, Mont., recently teamed up with church members from the community to reach out to the local homeless population. Being homeless in Montana is not the easiest. The winter months get bitterly cold, and one can often find homeless men, women and even children standing on a street corner with cardboard signs asking for help.

The Human Resource Development Council of Bozeman has worked to help meet the need of these families and individuals by providing a warming shelter for the homeless along with some other basic necessities. The warming center completely relies on donations to continue operation.

MEA students and other volunteers set out one sunny but chilly afternoon to stand on the street corners in teams and hold signs like "Keep our homeless warm," "No one freezes in my backyard" and "Donate to the warming center today." After two and a half hours, the teams gathered back together, and we took our donation buckets to the warming center for counting and to get a tour.

Last year, the warming center provided 4,891 stays and served 200 people. Students were delighted to be able to see where the money we raised was going and how it was going to help.

Tristyn, a freshman, enthusiastically shared how excited she was that she could help, saying, "That was amazing. I just kept thinking that it could be anyone standing out there. Me, my family, anyone. Praise God for helping us raise that money."

When all was said and done, our students helped to raise an incredible $12,007. Two Brazilian students, Maiara and Eduarda, were shocked and surprised when one passer-by handed them a donation check for $10,000. They could hardly contain their excitement as they shared their story. The staff at the warming center were overwhelmed by the positive response and success of our group and were especially grateful. It was a wonderful experience to be able to so tangibly live out part of our mission, to "SERVE in (God's) Kingdom."