Download our HFNY Resource Card as a way to engage homeless and hungry neighbors.
Read Tim Keller's outline of "Wholistic Ministry" and the Biblical call of the church to minister in both word and deeds of mercy and justice.
Watch our workshop on "How to Care for our Homeless Neighbors," outlining practical ways to serve our homeless neighbors and connect them to resources.
Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road
Dr. Tim Keller
|Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just
Dr. Tim Keller
|When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself
To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City
Mark R. Gornik
Chris and Courtney McNerney are awesome Hope for New York volunteers with Graffiti, a church on the Lower East Side.
Graffiti has programs running every day of the week that seek to bless those in need, including a weekly meal for those who are hungry, a clothing closet, daily GED and computer classes, two afterschool programs, Sunday services, and free lunch in the park.
The McNerneys, who met through a Redeemer community group, serve with Graffiti’s youth programs for middle and high school students. They also help with the Apologetics Café, a neighborhood outreach that creates a venue for people to explore the claims of Christianity.
Chris and Courtney have been married for around 7 months and live on the Upper East Side. “Serving together is one of the greatest parts of our marriage,” Chris says. “Together we get to serve God and encourage one another when we are weary.”
What do you guys do as volunteers with Graffiti?
Chris: We work with the middle and high school students. We go on monthly trips to provide the youth the chance to engage in activities they normally would not be able to do: attend museums, bowl, go to the movies, etc. In addition, during this time they are able to interact with adults who serve as mentors.
Courtney: It's a great way to regularly spend time with the kids and really get to know them and build relationships they can trust.
Chris: On Friday nights, we do Apologetics Café. Though several of our high school students attend, this is a separate event. Live music, coffee and dessert, and the chance to explore the claims of Christianity.
What are the kids you serve facing — what kind of challenges? What inspires/encourages you about them?
Courtney: A lot of the kids come from broken homes and are facing situations that I can't imagine facing as an adult much less a teen. I'm inspired by their courage and resilience and by their ability to enjoy the moment and laugh together.
Chris: Whenever we have a new volunteer, they are always amazed at how welcoming and warm the kids are towards them. I am inspired by their hope and desire for more. Many have families with significant hardships. They are resilient, though, and they still make themselves vulnerable. After being hurt, people often become hardened. I love that our kids are still willing to take risks in that way.
What's been rewarding/fulfilling to you about volunteering with HFNY? What's been challenging?
Courtney: Most rewarding has been the relationships we've developed with the youth and with the volunteers and attendees of the café. Most challenging is probably just the fatigue sometimes of trying to plan and coordinate regular events and increase attendance for both the youth program and the café.
Chris: It is just awesome to see our kids grow up. Some that we have known since 7th grade are finishing high school next year. They are becoming adults and to see them grow up is amazing. Many of them reach out to Court and I during the week with a text or a phone call. To know that they trust us that way is such a privilege.
Interested in volunteering with Graffiti? Join Chris, Courtney, and other Graffiti volunteers to take the youth to the Guggenheim on July 20, or click here for more events! Sign up by e-mailing Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org.