We are the Rich family – Matt, Jodie, Micah & Lilly We love Jesus!! He tells us to reach out to those around us … those in our home, those in our community, those in this world. We want to share His love with everyone.
We’ve created CARECANS as a way to involve families with young children in the implementation of helping the homeless. We educate families about homelessness, provide packing opportunities, and send them with CARECANS to pass out to those who are in need.
- We share the Good News, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- We share shelter and diner information in the Phoenix area that support homeless individuals and families.
- We provide a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. (Oral hygiene plays an important role in overall health.)
- We provide a small snack.
- We (try to) provide a $5.-$10. gift card to an accommodating restaurant.
- We provide shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, a comb, and lip balm. (Feeling clean and healthy promotes confidence.)
How we got started
It was May 8, 2010 and our Sunday School Enrichment class, Strong Families, put together an outreach event. The goal behind our class, led by Dr. John Trent, is to “do life together” – by doing Faith@Home and serving together as a family. This particular event was in conjunction with the Phoenix Rescue Center.
We had 4 stations set up around our church gymnastium. The stations included:
- Making signs to post in the cafeteria of the Phoenix Rescue Center
- Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for one of their meals
- Praying in the prayer garden: *for the Phoenix Rescue Center, *for those who work there, *for those who go there for a meal and some help
- Filling tennis ball containers with hygiene products, a snack, and a note (handwritten by our children) telling them how much God loves them
The entire event was a great experience, but the tennis ball container station was impactful on our family.
How it works
1. We gather the materials.
2. We prepare the tennis ball cans.
3. We always have one, or two, cans in the car. (They fit great in the cup holder!)
4. We look for homeless, or needy, people as we drive to various locations. (My kids have an eye for them.)
5. We get close to the person. (We may need to turn around to get to the other side of the street, but they are worth it.)
6. Depending on the location and how much time is available (could be a red light), we hand them the container, ask their name, and tell them we will be praying for them. (If there’s extra time, we may ask about their situation, if there’s anything else they’d like us to pray about, etc.)
7. We drive away, but … it does not end there.
8. We pray for that person – immediately. We write down their name and location (and any other information we may have gotten from them).
9. We continue to pray for that person. We look for that person the next time we are in that area.
10. Sometimes we see our friends again and create a relationship … sometimes we don’t, but continue to pray.
We take the label off of the can and replace it with our personalized label – a short version of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We also personalize each can with information and maps to available shelters, locations for food, and places that provide help with any addictions (C.A.S.S., Andre House, and St. Vincent De Paul dining rooms). Micah and Lilly include a picture and personalize it with a message about how much God loves them.
The hygiene and snack items consist of:
- dental floss
- shower gel
- lip balm
- food (various types and sizes – fruit snacks; nutrition bars; snack pacs; etc.)