Assisting The Less Fortunate
Homelessness is a major issue in our world today, and one that’s tough to tackle. Supporting the homeless as they are with food, shelter, and basic care is essential to their well-being, but they also need job training, education, transportation, permanent housing, and so many other necessities that many of us take for granted.
When Isha Desselle took a trip to India in 1986, her eyes were opened to the world’s homeless problem. Even 30 years ago, India was overrun with homeless people who lacked support and resources. When Isha saw them on every corner, she felt the sting of sadness, the urgency to lend a hand, and the helplessness of limited resources. But one woman, in particular, convinced her to take action.
As we share Isha’s story and how she sold everything to help the homeless, remember that it’s your job to spread the bible’s teaching on generosity, but we know it isn’t easy. At DonorWerx, we provide resources to church leaders to help them talk about generosity and giving in a way that’s inviting, understanding, and never demanding. Interested in exploring our tools and coaching programs? Begin exploring them today!
Everyone Has Something to Give
“My mother was tough, in a very soft way,” Isha explains. “She built our house in Trinidad, mixing water, sand, and stone. She taught us everything, especially charity. She’s the one who instilled that in our life. On the weekends, we would go to the market, and she would feed the beggars.” With an upbringing like that, it’s no wonder that Isha turned out to be such a kind and generous person.
With fond memories of how hard her mom worked to get them up on their feet, it makes sense that Isha was taken aback when she noticed a homeless woman wrapped in a small bag, sleeping on the streets of India. Isha didn’t see her at first because the homeless woman’s frail frame was disguised by her makeshift sleeping bag, but when Isha set eyes on the woman, thoughts of Isha’s mother immediately filled her heart and mind.
This frail woman, sleeping alone in the cold, with no family, help, or food, resembled Isha’s mother so closely that she was brought to tears. When she returned home to Houston, she remained moved by the sights of India’s homeless problem and, rather than burying the bad memories, she turned them into fuel for change.
Selling Everything to Help Others
“I sold my home and everything I had,” Isha recalls. “[I] put a down payment on a rundown apartment complex.” Isha remembers making drastic changes very quickly, but she said that it “just felt right.” She had found a cause that she was passionate about — in fact, it had found her.
Isha’s goal was to convert the apartment complex into a safe place for homeless elderly people, but she ran into hurdles at every turn. She even turned to United Way for help but was told that she didn’t have the education or experience to make it. Isha remained undiscouraged.
She began living in the complex so she could help the residents. If someone didn’t have food, she’d walk to the markets and ask for vegetables and pick up bones from the butcher shop to make soup. Before she knew it, there were 40 people from her neighborhood packed into the kitchen, many homeless themselves, helping prepare dinner to feed 200 others.
Are you helping your congregation to take their pains, fears, worries, and concerns and turn them into shared blessings? If you need help guiding your congregation in embracing the giving spirit, DonorWerx can help. Get started today.
The Turning Point Center
As she continued on her journey to help homeless people, Isha soon founded the Turning Point Center. Today, the center is dedicated to helping homeless people 50 and over get food, shelter, and resources to support them as they get back on their feet.
In the years since, her organization has helped over 37,000 homeless people in Houston. “They come in with a frown, the destitution in their face,” Isha describes. “And you take them to the clothing room, let them have a shower, change into something new. Their whole outlook changes.”
Isha doesn’t put timelines on her residents. She says they’re not numbers, they’re not cases, and they’re no statistics — she sees them as people, and she works to help them in any way she can. Long-term residents end up helping out as volunteers themselves, helping her amplify her efforts as the years go by.
How DonorWerx Can Help
Once you start looking, it’s amazing how many inspirational stories you can find about charity, giving, and paying it forward. Isha is an excellent example of someone who found her calling and didn’t let anything stand in the way of blessing her community with the resources she had.