Christmas Party Spans Divide Between Rich, Poor, If Only For An Evening

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SAN JOSE, CA. – On one recent evening in a downtown office, the great divide between Silicon Valley’s rich and poor melted away amidst some baked ham, gingerbread cookies and a few Christmas carols.

About 50 guests from a local homeless shelter and a low-income housing complex and their volunteer hosts enjoyed a little Christmas spirit around festive tables before shuttling back to a life of uncertainty.

There was no agenda that night, other than to give guests a chance to relax, enjoy a holiday meal, and share conversations away from the stress of a life on the streets.

The event was the third annual “Luke 14” Christmas Party at The River Church Community in downtown San Jose. Overseeing the festivities was Andy Singleterry and his wife Janet, church members who have both committed themselves to working with the poor. Volunteers from The River and at least two other local churches joined them.

As Singleterry explained to the hosts in a huddle before guests arrived, the title “Luke 14” comes from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14, in which Jesus advises people to “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind,” instead of their rich friends and neighbors.

Among the volunteers that night were high tech employees, leaders in business, educators, and in some cases their children, for whom homelessness is usually more of an abstract idea than a reality. For this one evening the volunteers and the homeless and low income men and women interacted as if there was no divide between them, sharing stories about families, lives, and memories of Christmas’ past.

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  1. […] Today for National Volunteer Week we’re featuring a story about volunteers who make holiday parties possible for homeless people every year in San Jose, CA. This story is about  the Christmas party that they held last December, but I know they are gearing up for an Easter party soon. The volunteers from The River Church prepare the meal, shuttle people to and from the homeless shelter, share the meal with the men and women, and sing songs together. MORE […]