Each Wednesday night during the winter, Trinity Presbyterian Church partners with the Urban Ministry Center to provide shelter and warm meals to members of the Charlotte community who would otherwise go without. Tricia Sistrunk, Trinity’s “Room In The Inn” Coordinator, has recently started her own blog, “Humans Without Homes,” to help tell their stories and to better connect everyone with those among us who wonder each day where they might lay their heads at night.
The following is her recent post, “A Little Lip Smacker Comfort.”
January 7, 2015
Tonight at Room In The Inn, one of our twelve guests was an eleven-year-old girl. She was there with her dad. I don’t know anything about her or her dad or where her mom might be. All I know is that she is eleven years old and, at least for tonight, is without a home or a bedroom to call her own. Instead she is sleeping on the floor of a church Fellowship Hall along with ten other adults she doesn’t know.
During the Christmas Eve service at Trinity, folks brought donations of hats, gloves, and chapstick for the Room In The Inn program. I set out some of the chapstick while I handed out the t-shirts, underwear, socks, hats, and gloves we give to our guests each week. Most of the chapstick was your usual minty flavored ChapStick brand and the other items were all adult sizes. As I was putting the Room In The Inn supplies back in the closet for the night, I noticed a package of Lip Smacker chapstick in the bucket of donations from the Christmas Eve service. I smiled as I thought about my five-year-old daughter who got a tube of Lip Smackers in her Christmas stocking. She is now obsessed with coating her lips with the watermelon scented salve every time they feel the slightest bit chapped (and even when they don’t). She basically smells like a walking watermelon.
I opened up the Lip Smackers and took one to our young guest, who was now dressed in her cozy pink and white pjs and getting herself tucked into bed. I asked if she wanted some chapstick and she said she already got one. I held out the Lip Smackers and she took a second look, grinned, and said thank you as she took it and began to twist off the cap.
On my way home tonight, I couldn’t help but wonder and worry about what the future holds for our young guest and all of the children who begin their lives homeless. She is not the face of homelessness that most of us think about, but the fact is she is just one of many children sleeping on floors in shelters and churches across the country.
I left the church and went back home to tuck my kids into their warm beds on this chilly, January night, the scent of watermelon still lingering on my cheek after leaving my daughter’s room.