Heating supplies needed for the homeless

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This message is outside the scope of our web site, but we've made this exception because of a need that we believe some of our web site visitors may be able to help with. There is a unique organization in the Columbus, Ohio area called Take it to the Streets. It was founded by Harold and Ada Martin. The Martin's and other volunteers visit homeless people where they live, under bridges, in the woods, etc. to provide them with food, clothing and shelter. In the past, they've helped several homeless people build wooden shacks so that they can have shelter during the night, and when the weather becomes hazardous.

Anyone who lives in the Columbus area knows that we've had some very bitter cold weather during the past week or two. This has placed a real strain on the Martins', because they often purchase with their own money, the items the homeless people need whom they serve. We recently visited some of the homeless people who they serve and learned that there's a shortage of kerosene to keep their space heaters running. It's been difficult for them to keep warm. We saw one campsite today where they had been using a propane Coleman stove to heat their shack with. There is a very high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning doing that. They were unable to run the much safer kerosene heater because they had run out of kerosene.

We are asking those who visit our web site to consider contacting Harold and Ada Martin or contact us to make any of the following donations. Their web site is Take it to the Streets, and their phone number is (614) 228-6552. What they need right now is:

- Kerosene and 5-gallon containers to store it in (got any excess from Y2K preparations)?
- 10,000 BTU kerosene space heaters
- Battery powered carbon monoxide detectors

One question that often comes up is why don't they go to heated shelters instead of staying in their wooden shacks? There are several reasons. Some fear catching diseases like hepatitis at the shelters. Others live far away from homeless shelters and don't have a way to get there. Some who do go to shelters may then be too far away from their jobs that they normally are able to walk to. But one of the biggest problems is that very often when they leave their campsites for any length of time, someone steals the very few belongings they own. They come back and their food, water clothing, cooking utensils and the few other meager possessions they own are often gone.

Take it to the Streets recognizes and understands their fears about going to the shelters, and rather than to judge them or look down on them, they give them love and compassion and help them to try to survive where they currently are. Our family has been extremely amazed by the compassion the Martin's have. Both Harold and Ada have recently suffered with heart problems. Both are off work on disability. They don't have the money to spare, but they always somehow seem to find a way to provide for the homeless people whom they love so dearly. Harold goes out every day and drives one of the homeless people to his job. He picks them up and takes them to church. I have rarely seen this kind of love and compassion demonstrated for others. In our opinion, they are modern day saints and we feel very blessed to know them, and to have our children see them as examples of what being a Christian is really all about.

If you are able to help Harold and Ada with their important ministry, we would be very grateful. We thank you in advance for your concern for those less fortunate, and pray that God will richly bless you for your kindness.

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