Throwing Starfish

We enjoyed another successful session, serving Room in the Inn (RITI) at Trinity United Methodist Church. Trinity's pastor, Reverend Debora Christiansen- or "Rev Deb" according to her friends- took a moment to speak to us about the guests who would sleep in the beds we were preparing. She also shared with us how she was introduced to RITI, through another Memphis church.

Another Room in the Inn?! 
Rev Deb's words led into a powerful discussion and some really great questions from these young volunteers.

Out of the mouths of babes...

 "What if there are lots of volunteers, but not enough locations?"
We learned that Room in the Inn is not one place that serves one night a week. Rather, it is an initiative that can happen in many locations, any night of the week. Memphis just needs more organizations to step up and take part- something that can happen if we all spread the word. I mentioned several ways to get involved in a previous post. (I'll list them again below.) One thing I forgot to mention is that even sharing this post, sharing pictures, or sharing information from RITI goes a long way! What is this social media thing for, if not to make the world a better place?

"What about everyone else, who has to sleep out in the cold?"

I think it can be easy to get lost in the reality that we are serving only 13 people on one cold night of the week. Someone recently asked me, "Don't you feel like it is a futile effort, when only a small portion of the homeless population can be served?" Repeating this question to the group raised some eyebrows and evoked a peculiar remark. "Starfish!" I understood the reference. Janie Kathryn and I actually received the story for Christmas and I was happy to have a chance to share it.

Adapted from The Star Thrower-
There once was a man walking along the beach, when he came upon a boy picking up starfish from the sand and throwing them back into the ocean. The man asked the boy, "What are you doing?" To which the boy replied, "I'm throwing them back, so they won't die." The man questioned the boy again, "Don't you realize there are many miles of beaches and many other starfish lying in the sand? You can't possibly make a difference." The boy smiled, threw another starfish and said, "I made a difference to that one."
 "I'll tell my friends about it and they'll tell their friends... "
That's the spirit! It's true, we may have only helped 13 people on one particular night, but we also made a difference in THIRTEEN lives, in only ONE night. A little perspective from a group of kids can go a long way. Pass it on! Perhaps, someone you tell will organize another RITI site and we'll just keep throwing starfish back into the ocean.

Do you have a kid or teen who wants to join us? 
There are still a few spots left for our Month of Service Learning. You can sign up here.

Interested in starting a new Room in the Inn site?
You can contact the AMAZING Lisa Anderson here.

Want to get involved, but don't have time?
You can buy stuff! Here is a list of RITI needs that you can purchase from Amazon. You don't even have to get up from your computer!

Want to stay updated on how you can help?
Join Friends of Room in the Inn Memphis on Facebook or follow RITI here.

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