Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wednesday Nights Under the I-40 Bridge in Knoxville: a place of compassion.

On my Facebook Page this morning: Right now, I have my minivan half full of clothing and shoes to be delivered to the Lost Sheep warehouse next week for their Under the Bridge ministry. I'd love to have it filled to the brim! For you who don't know about this ministry, a bag full of clothing items, shoes & a hot meal are given out to each person every Wednesday night. Many of these homeless folks suffer from the effects of years of untreated severe mental illness. If anyone has anything to add to the load, let me know before Monday. Suggested items: men's & women's clean casual clothing of all sizes, socks, underwear, athletic shoes, candles, small toiletry items, dried pasta & dried pinto beans.

If you'd like to know more, read the article about Under the Bridge below then check out Lost Sheep's website for more information about additional outreach opportunities:  http://lostsheepministry.org/

Each Wednesday evening, Lost Sheep Ministry reaches approximately 250-300 people under the Interstate Bridge in downtown Knoxville.  The number of homeless, along with low/no income individuals are growing rapidly, especially with the present economic situation. This location is chosen because of close proximity to Knoxville’s homeless service organizations, KCDC housing, and homeless neighbors who live outdoors in surrounding areas.

Lost Sheep Ministry Under The Bridge

Meals

This outreach is accomplished each week by a large team of volunteers.  A hot meal is prepared in the LSM facility kitchen, and served at portable dining tables. Folks have a unique opportunity to relax, and form relationships with volunteers who are caring and non judgmental. A take-away bag of food is distributed to those who need additional food for the week.

Clothing

Homeless neighbors have little options for clothing. When clothes become soiled or wet, they must be discarded.  Volunteers distribute gently used clothing each week to anyone who has a need. Also available is clothing for job interviews, and work clothes for temporary employment.

Service

Prayer, a brief Christian message, music and special events are a part of each week. This offers comfort inspiration, and a chance to hear the Gospel.  Attendance is not required to receive services.

Prayer Table

A table is available for those requesting prayer, Christian literature and Bibles. Volunteers are available to counsel with those in crisis, and offer referrals to resources available in Knoxville.

Dental Outreach

A mobile dental trailer is UTB two Wednesday nights each month. Usually it is the second and third weeks but is subject to change depending on the availability of the dentist. The most common service provided is tooth extraction.

Medical Outreach

A medical station is available with volunteer medical doctors, and nursing students on site to screen for high blood pressure and diabetes. First Aid is administered, and medical volunteers are alert to any emergency that may arise. Each week builds on forming a trusting relationship with the chronic homeless who do not frequent medical clinics.  The goal is to help them establish permanent medical and mental health providers.

Annual Flu Clinic

In its fifth year, Brad Stansberry NP, organizes a free flu vaccine clinic for homeless neighbors under the bridge. He accomplishes this by obtaining donations and networking resources with UT graduate school of Nursing.

Tuberculosis

The Knox County Health Department TB program (Communicable Disease) provides free risk assessment and TB skin testing, to high-risk individuals under the bridge.

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