Lyndon Thomas Insurance December 2017

LYN’S LEDGER

Lyndon Thomas Insurance

Dec 2017

We Help You With Medicare.

T he holiday season is a time of joy for many. Between spending time with loved ones, awaiting Santa’s arrival, and enjoying the festivities, it’s hard not to get swept up in the cheer. But I think it’s important to remember that not everyone has the good fortune to enjoy a stress-free holiday. That’s why I thought it would be appropriate to highlight an organization with which I am honored to serve, the Ojai Valley Family Shelter. I often describe the Ojai Valley as the only area in Southern California that has successfully not grown over the past 50 years — or at least worked very hard at not growing! We are fortunate to be part of a small, tight-knit community. This closeness, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in our area living in difficult situations. For some among us, the Ojai Valley is their home, but they just don’t have a house. From December through March, the Ojai Valley Family Shelter provides these folks with a safe, warm place to sleep, a hot meal, and if desired, a hot shower. On different nights each week, several local churches take turns hosting the shelter and its guests. For example, on Sunday evenings, the Ojai Valley Wesleyan Church (full disclosure: I’m the pastor there) hosts the shelter. Check-in is at 6 p.m., followed shortly by dinner. Then, pads, sheets, blankets, and pillows are distributed. In the morning, there’s a light breakfast. Outside the venue is the old RV we’ve affectionately dubbed “The SUV,” short for “shower utility vehicle.” While the shelter may be held at churches, so many community members come together to lend a hand. Speaking of Sunday evenings at our location, Thacher School provides a team of faculty and seniors who deliver and serve meals while school is in session. The other Sundays, Ojai Valley Christian Fellowship joins with our congregation in providing dinner, doing setup, and The Greatest Gift of All

GIVING BACK DURING THE HOLIDAYS

cleaning up. Other individuals serve as overnight hosts or provide sack lunches for next morning carry-out. Each of the other six sites have similar team efforts to accomplish the goal. To be sure, the problems of homelessness are many and complex, but this community organization has drawn a circle around a specific set of needs and said, “We are going to make sure no one from the Ojai Valley has to go without the basics of warmth, safety, and food during the coldest months of the winter.” Among the things I’ve learned in my 25 years with the shelter is that nobody intends to end up houseless, and everyone has a story. I’ve gained a greater understanding of some of the problems facing our area and nation, as well as an up-close and personal look at the power of the human spirit. To those of you reading this who live in the Ojai Valley who have helped throughout the years, let me express my deepest gratitude. If you’ve never heard of the organization and would like to help out during the holidays, you may visit ovfs.org for more information. Finally, I want to wish everyone happy holidays and a merry Christmas. If you have a little extra time, I hope you have the chance to give something back this year. It doesn’t have to be with the Ojai Valley Family Shelter, though I welcome all of you to join us. Find a cause that’s near to your heart and think of how you can do your part. Sometimes, offering a few kind words and a little support is the greatest gift of all.

–Lyn Thomas

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