This Week at St. Stephen’s–December 16, 2012

“HOME IN A BAG: AN IMPORTANT OUTREACH MINISTRY”

Today is the annual Blessing of the Backpacks at St. Stephen’s.  For more than 5 years, this community has contributed 50 “homes in a bag” annually for homeless clients at The Mustard Seed.  For those of us who live in stable housing conditions, personal hygiene may seem to be more an issue of maintaining our personal esthetic standards than anything else.  But for folks living on the streets, having the tools to keep themselves clean is vitally important for medical reasons.

Soap, shampoo and conditioner, combs and razors reduce the germ load carried by skin and scalp.  Hand lotion and lip balm are vitally important to prevent skin cracks, maintaining the skin as the body’s first barrier against infection.  Nail clippers and clean, fresh socks help prevent diseases of the foot, which are among they key medical issues faced by homeless people.  Left untreated, foot diseases can develop into serious infections like trench fever or gangrene, and contribute to life-long physical disability.  Having a toothbrush and toothpaste obviously promotes better dental health, and this can in turn reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, intestinal failure, and certain forms of cancer, as well as infections of the mouth.  Having a personal toothbrush, razor or nail clippers rather than sharing with others also helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases including Hpatitis C.

The Home in a Bag ministry helps promote good long-term health practices among clients at The Mustard Seed as our Christmas gift to them.  Thanks, St. Stephen’s!

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