Homeless hosted to day of hospitality

Four-year-old Jasmin Aguilar gets her nails painted by volunteer Karina Franco. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JOE MCSORLEY

By Steve Buckner
Special to The Leaven

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25: 40).

Members of the Fraternity of the Poor of Jesus Christ cast wide their “Fishermen’s Net” event on July 29 to bring homeless people from both Kansas Cities to Cross-Lines Community Outreach in Kansas City, Kansas, for food, fellowship and a little practical assistance.

The event, which attracted a mix of Spanish and English speakers, provided showers, gently used clothing, backpacks, manicures, haircuts and a hot meal to some 150 homeless individuals in the area.

Bingo and prizes were even thrown in for good measure.

“It’s building a bridge between cultures and building a bridge between people instead of building walls,” explained Sister Magdalena of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, PJC. Sister Magdalena is the fraternity’s local leader, or custodian.

The homeless people were gathered in from seven stops in Kansas City, Kansas, and five stops in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sister Magdalena said the order also hosts similar events before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Leslie Spurlock, from Kansas City, Missouri, was one of the beneficiaries of “Fishermen’s Net.”

“It’s great,” he said. “They’ve also been good to us by feeding us in the northeast side on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“It’s a godsend.”

In another corner of the room, 4-year-old Jasmin Aguilar sat rapt while volunteer Karina Franco painstakingly painted the child’s tiny nails.

Meanwhile, in a back room, volunteer Edgar Ussery stayed busy cutting hair. One of his customers was good-natured Vincent T., who joked and laughed easily as his shoulder- length locks streamed to the floor.

“It’s definitely helpful,” Vincent said. “I appreciate the fact that I can get a haircut again.”

Outside under tents, the guests enjoyed leisurely games of bingo, with prizes going to the winners.

Finally, in the alley between the tents and the Cross-Lines building, performance painter Mike Debus entertained the gathering with his quick, but inspiring, renderings of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

“It’s more of a presence with the poor,” explained Sister Magdalena, as the hot lunches were distributed to the appreciative crowd.

“It’s [about] more than lunches,” she said. “It’s your friendships and love.

“It’s all about relationships. That’s what Jesus did.”

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