In the midst of many Homecoming traditions…
Like the Pancake Breakfast, the Alumni Volleyball Tournament, dress-up days, an all-school pep rally, and a full schedule of basketball games, Homecoming 2023 also “welcomed home” a new organization partner.
For Homecoming 2023, Legacy partnered with Settled, a Christian non-profit that approaches local homelessness with a unique solution.
During Homecoming week, the entire school participated in a Sock Drive and the Pancake Breakfast included a free-will offering for the ministry. During the week, students also had the opportunity to hear from Rose Larson, a Missional Life Pastor through Church of the Open Door who lives in a Sacred Settlement in Maplewood.
By the time Friday’s Pep Rally came around, Legacy was bursting with socks! Those socks became a focal point of the Pep Rally games as kids attempted to throw socks into targets and buckets and scoop up as many as they could in a wild game of Hungry-Hungry Hippo!
By Saturday, the socks totaled 1,814 pairs, and our community raised $669.90 at the Pancake Breakfast.
But our story with Settled doesn’t end there.
A week later, a High School Leadership Affinity Group (groups that meet weekly to help direct students to lead Legacy in a particular area through serving, awareness, education and school-wide experiences), delivered those socks to the Sacred Settlement in Maplewood. Sharon Buffie, the High School Counselor, and Todd Kardell, the High School Student Life Coordinator, accompanied our students on this unique service-oriented field trip.
Rose Larson gave our Legacy students a tour of three of the tiny homes on the Sacred Settlement, tiny homes that are now home to five people that were once chronically homeless. They had the opportunity to meet two of the residents that live in the Sacred Settlement. And as our students listened, the two residents, Laura and Alan, shared their stories, shared their art, and shared their music.
In addition to hearing stories, our students gathered in the Settled community space to hear more about the purposeful work the residents partake in to earn part of their income. This same space is where Rose and another missional neighbor couple – an empty-nester married couple in another tiny home – share meals, watch movies together, and complete puzzles for fun with the residents who were once homeless but are now home.
Students next met Todd, the director of Walking with a Purpose, the organization that partners closely with Settled. Todd and his team spend most of their time in encampments around the Twin Cities to build relationships with those who are chronically homeless. Most of the socks donated from Legacy will be distributed through the work that Todd and his team complete alongside Settled.
The Leadership Affinity Group ended their day at the Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul, preparing and serving meals to the men who needed a meal that day. They smiled in their service, and as the line thinned, our Legacy students stepped out from behind the counter and sat down in pairs and groups to meet some of the men enjoying the last few bites of a meal.
At the very end of the day, Rose, Todd, and Sharon helped the students process what they had observed and learned throughout the day. Students were grateful for the opportunity to hear the stories of those that struggle with chronic homelessness. They loved touring the tiny homes that those once homeless now call home. And it was an incredible day of learning and seeing those who are often not seen.
And whether delivering socks, listening to a story, or serving a meal, our Legacy students were blessed with the opportunity to be the direct hands and feet of Jesus Christ.