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Less chai, more homes
April 11, 2014

By Marcia Evenson | Each year for Lent I put a lot of thought into what I can do to better focus on my relationship with God. That's what Lent is about really...refocusing ourselves in a new way. This Lent I wanted to shift my focus from the negative thoughts that creep into my head to a place of gratitude. So I began asking myself what is that makes me feel fortunate, blessed, and grateful on a daily basis.

I am grateful for the little things - having a rental home with my husband, a rescue dog who has his very own rescue cat to chase, a career that is meaningful to me, and of course a Starbucks near both my home and work that allows me to take a break whenever I want for Chai! Mmm....hot chai, iced chai, whatever the day brings I can walk or drive to Starbucks and have a few minutes of peace and calm for just $3.97. What's not to love, it's autumn in a cup!

This year for Lent I decided to relinquish my fortunate status as a Starbucks regular. Throughout the season of Lent this year I would instead save my money and better yet donate to a cause that matters to me - homelessness. Each night in MN there are over 14,000 people without a home and nearly half of these folks are 21 years of age or younger. It's hard to imagine that each night I can park my car in the garage, go into my own home and lock the door behind me. I know that I have a home to go to and that when my day is over I have somewhere safe and warm to stay all the night through. Roughly one quarter of people or are homeless as adults were first homeless as children. This...breaks...my....heart. No child should be homeless. Not in the United States and not in MN. No one.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative has been working to help create sustainable housing and end homelessness in MN. I know that the people there working through a time of homelessness can use my $3.97 better than I can. They can accomplish much greater things even then the magical moment of autumn in a cup.

So for Lent this year I have chosen to give up Chai Tea Lattes. Each time I would have gone to Starbucks to get a Chai I add four $1 bills to a spaghetti jar in my room. Every time I put my money into the jar I am reminded of how blessed I am and give thanks to God for the ability to give back. So while I am giving up my routine of a relaxing tea beverage, I am happy to be supporting a cause that is dear to my heart, important to our community, vital for our future, and that I believe God is calling me to.

Right now my jar contains $88 and there are still 10 days left before Easter Sunday. I know that Beacon can do more with this money than I can. Feel free to support my Lenten project by giving to support housing for those who find themselves homeless in MN by volunteering or donating to Beacon.

P.S Anyone who wants to buy me a  Starbucks Chai the day after Easter is welcome to :-)

Ed. note: You can read Marcia's blog in its original form here.

Marcia Evenson
Marcia lives in Minneapolis and worked at Richfield United Methodist Church. She drank her last pre-Lenten chai tea latte on March 4.