“When I saw all the need, I thought, ‘This is a calling for us,’”

Long-distance truckers take to the road to help the homeless

“We believe a little love and a care package may give them hope”

STEINBACH, MB—James and Christina Friesen cover a lot of miles as long-distance truck drivers. Now they are combining their love for the road with a passion to help the homeless.

The Steinbach couple was active in outreach and ministry in their hometown, even running a charitable organization there. It was hard to leave that behind when Christina decided to join James on the road two years ago.

But during their travels, the duo started to notice countless homeless people across North America, at truck stops, under overpasses, and sleeping in public parks, all of them cold and hungry and suffering.

“When I saw all the need, I thought, ‘This is a calling for us,’” Christina says. “I just started giving them things we had on hand. Then I thought, ‘Okay, we need to be more prepared.’”

Now operating as The Good Shepherd Mission, the couple prepares care packages, including items such hygiene products, clothing, food and Bibles, that they distribute from their big rig as they drive across the country.

The Friesens also make an effort to learn a person’s name, shake hands and make him or her feel valued, simply as another human being. If the person is open to it, the Friesens pray together with him or her as well.

So often, Christina says, the homeless are used to being ignored, invisible, and not seen as people.

“We may not solve everyone’s problems, but we believe a little love and a care package may give them hope,” she says. “Some of these people really lose hope, others don’t see them as people anymore. We shake their hand; get to know their names. Even just shaking their hand means so much. When they hear we want to know their name their eyes light up.”

The public’s perception of the homeless is something the Friesens also hope to challenge.

“It starts with education. People need to understand the issue to make a real difference,” she explains. “People assume homeless are there by choice, because of drugs or just lazy. But there are so many unique and sad stories.”

She says many homeless continue to work, but just can’t make enough, and at times must make a choice between food and shelter.

“There are a lot of real victims and tragedies, hard working people living paycheque to paycheque when tragedy strikes,” Christina says. “It could just as easily be you or me.”

“Many of them want nothing more than to get a job and have a place to live,” she says, they just need a helping hand.

To learn more or to get involved, visit the Good Shepherd Mission go-fund-me page.

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