Lisa DH Aquino | August 2021 | The North Star Catholic

This month we find ourselves focusing on our children and young families as schools reopen for the fall. Back to school is often full of excitement, joy, and sometimes worry. Many parents purchase school supplies, read to their children, practice ABCs, and much more – all in preparation for their child’s first day back. All out of love for their family. As parents, we try to do everything we can to ensure our children are happy and successful when they’re back in the classroom.

The lengths we will go to for our families are inspirational. We want to do anything to ensure the happiness of loved ones. That’s the kind of love I know this community is capable of. To love each of our neighbors like family – because they are. We are all one family of God’s children.

Unfortunately, many families are unable to do their best for their children due to the challenges of homelessness.

As I write in mid-July, the city is working on a plan to support some members of our Anchorage family – those who are experiencing homelessness. They are looking at our shelter system and proposing new ideas for a mass shelter. The team at CSS has been talking closely with those working on this plan and approaching all shelter proposals and conversations with openness. We’re also doing our best to share all our experiences, knowledge, and expertise. During Fiscal Year 2020, we housed over 900 people, and we will continue to share what we learned so that each person experiencing homelessness will soon reach permanent stability – just like those 900 people did last year.

What I also hope to bring to these conversations is love. I hope to always bring love for our Anchorage family, especially those experiencing the trauma of homelessness.

Of course, throughout these conversations, there will always be compromise. But, whatever the decided-on plan is, we will continue to work just as hard for our Anchorage community and neighbors as we always have. Thanks to your support, we will continue to house families and individuals, serve guests at Brother Francis Shelter and Clare House, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and so much more.

While we will continue our services and do all we can to help those in need, it’s critical to remember that we are on a timeline. What is most important at this moment is that winter is quickly approaching, and I worry for those who may not have a warm place to sleep, especially the families and young children.

As we are busy preparing for the school year and all that it entails, some families and children are not. Some are currently experiencing the most traumatic moments of their lifetime, looking for love and support. Let’s be there for them. Let’s keep our entire Anchorage family in our prayers, our thoughts, and our actions. Let’s make sure that not only our biological family is safe and well, but also make sure our entire family here in Anchorage is, too.

I hope that we can all work just as hard preparing a shelter for winter as we do for back to school for our children. So let’s make preparations this fall, pouring our heart into our work for our entire family.

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