Homeless pics: Nashville and NYC

The last month's focus in Heal Ministries has been the homeless here in America.  We are going to send teams over the next two years to our homeless focus in New York City and Jersey City, Chicago and Nashville.  It is overwhelming to think about the statistics that we hear about regarding the homeless.  The national stats reveal that there are over 700,000 homeless people every night in America, over two million per year.  It's actually impossible to know the real count but knowing that this is a minimal estimate is hard for me to wrap my mind around it.  The most alarming myth is that the homeless "don't try" or "don't want to work" or "all homeless are drug addicts", etc.  While some of this is true, it is not representative of the masses.
Families are actually the largest growing number of the homeless population.  One in five children in the U.S. live in poverty and one in five standing in the soup lines are children:  that's over 12 million per year!  In fact, the U.S. child poverty rate is higher than that of MOST industrialized nations!  Today, with the tough economic times and high amount of job losses, our neighbors are reaching an alarming high percentage of "almost homeless".  There are over 31 million Americans today that live in hunger.  WOW!
It is really difficult to think about the statistics and yet it is a reality.  So, I have to think:  what do I do with that?  I think it is the same approach as any need:  one act of kindness at a time changes one heart at a time.   When we allow ourselves to become involved personally, we build relationships and realize that these hurting people, these needy people that Jesus asked us to help, are REAL people that have REAL hearts and that need REAL care now.  They need a break.  They need someone to say "I'm praying for you and I want to help."  They have REAL hunger, REAL needs, REAL hurting hearts.  How can we turn our head to this?  
How can you not reach out and help?  How can we turn away from the One that has asked us to do this.  Look at these pictures through the eyes of Jesus.  What does He see?  He sees his children that are fatherless and He sees the needy needing mercy and He sees the oppressed through hurting eyes, the weak through an aching heart, and He sees all of us that can help.  While I fully understand that God does not need us to fulfill His plans, I am more aware today that He uses us to reach others and that we are honored and priviledged to be a part of something so HUGE.  May my heart continue to be stirred, may our hearts grow larger and our voices louder for those that cannot speak up for themselves.
“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.”  Ps 82:3-4