A deacon and his wife offer “Hands of Hope” in Arizona

A great story of diaconal service and charity, from The Catholic Sun: 

You’ve seen them: weathered faces lined with care, holding their cardboard signs by the side of the road, begging for help. You’re waiting for the light to turn green and try to avoid their stare. What to do?

Deacon Gene Messer and his wife Judi have the answer: Hands of Hope care packages.

Judi, a registered nurse, has been helping the homeless since 2006 and knows that people on the streets are often in need of basic items the rest of us might take for granted. Nail clippers, clean socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, lip balm and travel-sized shampoo are a few of the items tucked inside the care packages Judi designed.

With donations from NextCare Urgent Care and Dr. Keith Farr, the Messers recruited teenagers from Holy Cross Parish’s Life Teen youth program to assemble 500 of the care packages. In February, the Messers spoke at all the Masses, telling Holy Cross parishioners about the new project, part of the parish’s ongoing efforts to assist the homeless. They stood at a table afterward, distributing the packages to parishioners.

“What I wanted with these packages is for families to take a sample home and to make them at home as a family project so that they have something to hand out to people,” Judi said. “They can keep these in their car.”

“This has been one of the biggest successes at the parish that I’ve seen,” Gene said. “People were so excited about it,” Judi said. “They just embraced the idea.”

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