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Finding true community on the cold streets

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On Dec. 6 my family and I joined dozens of Wenatchee residents in attending Lighthouse Ministries’ Night in a Box, a fundraiser to increase awareness of homelessness in our valley. Wanting to support both the outreach to the homeless, and those willing to spend an extremely cold night sleeping outside, we found ourselves mingling with bundled citizens drinking hot chocolate while discussing the record-setting cold.

Gradually the crowd drifted together, circling one of the parking lot’s three small campfires, providing a spot of warmth in the crisp night air. As voices blended in carols sung from lifetimes of holiday memories, I joined the assembled group. Around the fire, I couldn’t tell who was there to sing and give support, to sleep in a box, or who was there because a box is often the only shelter they can find. Around the fire some eyes followed words printed on hastily distributed pages. Other eyes stared into the fire, looked to the stars, or closed in contemplation. Few met mine. Around the fire, the untuned notes and out-of-rhythm words blended to become one of the most beautiful choirs of which I’ve ever been a part. Around the fire, we were all equal.

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