I hope that this has been a great summer so far filled with fun and family! Dacia and I have been able to spend time with each of our grown kids and our grandkids already this summer. So many memories to last a life time!
There’s nothing like having one of your grandchildren just naturally take your hand when you’re walking together. That touch is so special.
I read once every human being needs 12 hugs a day for survival, growth, and maintenance. The human touch is as necessary as food and air. And science has proven this. In orphanages in the 1880’s in Europe, doctors noticed that the children, who were sick and never touched, died. The children who were touched got better faster.
But can you imagine your life with no touch? As you know, many of the people we serve at SafeHouse are homeless. And with that comes little to no chance to clean your clothes or your hair, take showers and then add in the summer heat- Suddenly, this person, this human being, is an untouchable.
At SHO, we’re very aware of this and encourage our volunteers to give healthy human touch to those we serve. There is protocol of course and we’re careful to follow it. So we’ve found creative ways to reach out and touch.
One way is with Foot Care or Foot Washing as it was first called. This is what we do: Whoever we’re serving sits in a chair and at his/her feet is the volunteer wearing non-latex gloves and armed with sanitizing wipes and lotion. The volunteer takes
off the shoes and socks, washing the feet carefully with the sanitizing wipes and then gives a foot massage with the lotion.
During this whole process, two people are getting to know each other, talking, laughing- it’s just a good thing. When finished, the volunteer gives who he’s serving a clean pair of socks.
Last week, a team from Rockford, Illinois was hosting a pancake breakfast for some of our homeless friends. After breakfast, they began Foot Care. Josh began carefully taking off Randall’s shoes and then his socks.
He washed Randall’s feet and began massaging them. Then as Josh looked up, he saw Randall crying. Others noticed too. Not a typical reaction to Foot Care. ‘What’s up?’ Josh asked.
‘This is the first time I’ve been touched in 5 years’, he said literally sobbing by now.
Wow. This story didn’t only impact the youth who were there but our entire staff. One staff who was at one time homeless said that he went 2 years without a hug.
Just having the knowledge that there are people living right here in Atlanta who haven’t had physical human contact in what could be years, is alarming. Well it’s more than that; it makes you want to do something. It makes you know you have to do something.
Obviously we’re not recommending that you randomly start hugging strangers. Start with your family. And then, come to SafeHouse and we’ll facilitate a human touch experience for you- for your family or your small group that will bless you as much as the recipient.
Can’t get down here but want the satisfaction of knowing that something you did helped to give someone a hug? Consider a donation of $25 or more a month. Our website: www.safehouseoutreach.org/donations, makes it easy to set up monthly automatic draft for your account. It’s safe, it’s secure, and you never have to even think about it again!
It does make you think though: would there be less crime if the criminals had been hugged more as children? Or would there be motivation to improve the quality of someone’s life if Mama had hugged her children a lot- even though she was single and worked two jobs?
Hugging can transform a person and then a community. –Powerful thought.
So then, who have you hugged today?
From the city,