Serving Those Experiencing Homelessness

Nov 19, 2021 | Service Stories, Summit Magazine

“‘…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothes you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35–39

Some in society can be viewed as “less than” others—those who are imprisoned, hungry, strangers. Yet, these fellow humans are loved by our Creator and in need of someone to care for them. Clarks Summit University alumni step out to serve in countless numbers of ways and locations. The following stories tell how God is working through alumni to reach those who are hurting and in need of Christ’s love.

SERVING THOSE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

by Julie Jeffery Manwarren 

Ryan Buchanan (’18), a Business Administration graduate of CSU, was hired in 2019 and serves as development director of Keystone Mission, overseeing all fundraising initiatives, events, marketing, public relations and technology. 

Keystone Mission was founded in 1995 and serves as a catalyst for the community to provide help and hope to homeless, hungry and hurting people. When Buchanan joined Keystone Mission, he implemented a few changes, including calling the individuals they serve, “guests.” 

“The men and women we serve are experiencing homelessness. Their current state doesn’t define them, so we call them ‘guests’ because we serve them and guide them on their journey of transformation,” explained Buchanan. 

What sets Keystone Mission apart is that they are relationship driven. They not only pursue relationships with the guests they serve, but with the financial partners who give. 

Buchanan also replaced the word “donor” with “financial partner,” explaining, “I wanted those who gave to the Keystone Mission to understand that their dollar is more than just a gift to someone in need; it’s a partnership in the life that they are investing in. They are personally investing in someone’s journey to get out of homelessness and rebuild their lives.” 

“If we want to truly offer help and hope, then we have to dive deeper into what is actually keeping them on the streets. We are focused on the individual,” Buchanan said. “CSU set me up to do that, because I have a degree in Business Administration and also Bible and theology. I not only received a biblical foundation and discipleship and mentoring while at school, but CSU provided many opportunities for real, practical life experience in the business world. 

Working at Keystone Mission gives me a unique opportunity to use my training to help others.” 

Buchanan came to CSU as a broken young man with abuse in his past. But Buchanan said his years at CSU grounded him and prepared him for where he is now. “God used the abuse in my life to draw me closer to Him,” Buchanan said. Now he works to help the broken and needy in northeast Pennsylvania. 

“We not only supply what our guests need physically but try to reach their heart. We seek to help them implement true change,” said Buchanan. “It’s taking the character of Jesus and what He did with everyone He met. He went to those considered the least in society and then went for their heart…As believers if we are told to go and make disciples and be like Jesus, wouldn’t it please God when we go and show the heart of Jesus to someone who is the least of these?” 

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