On Facebook recently, someone posted an idea to help the homeless. I decided to incorporate it into my life. I went to Family dollar and purchased a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, bar soap, liquid soap, deodorant and granola bars. I put the items in a gallon size Zip Lock bag; and I plan to give the bag to the next homeless person who stands on street corner or highway asking for a handout. I want to do this on a weekly basis.
I imagine I’m like most people who don’t want to give money. The question I always ask myself is, “Where would he/she spend the money?” Yet, my heart hurts for those whose lives went wrong.
A relative, a Vietnam veteran, became homeless at one point in his life. His marriage had fallen apart and he was fired from his job for alcoholism. He hid in the window wells at public buildings at night to sleep and protect himself from the cold as much as possible. He walked the streets, his self-esteem gone. Yes, he had PTSD, yes, he was an alcoholic, but he couldn’t find peace in his heart or the world.
We took him in for seven months and insisted he go to AA. He did, but it took a relapse and, again, our insistence that he stay in AA for him to give up alcohol. He got a job at a warehouse even though he was educated for much more. He didn’t think he deserved a well paying job. He was sober thirteen years before he died of liver disease.
Every homeless person has a story. Some tales are not as sad as the one I related. Many lose their jobs and they were only days away from homelessness; because they had no savings or perhaps skills to change directions in their careers. Whatever the reason, I wish for a better life for all of them.