So yesterday we were downtown for a Christmas party for the children and walking to the place we were supposed to go when a homeless young man walking our way smiled and said, 'hi, how are you doing?' (Yes, I know technically we aren't supposed to start a sentence with so. )
I smiled and said, 'fine, thank you for asking.' It was the most perfect teaching opportunity for how we as people should treat each other. The kids asked me who that was and I told them I did not know. Then I got asked, 'why did you say hi to him then?' I explained because it is polite to say hello to someone who says hello to you and though he may not have a house to live in, he was still a person who had feelings.
I don't give money to people hold signs up very often, but I do donate good usable items to our local mission and charitable organizations and I do not give junk. I wouldn't want junk, why do we assume homeless people want our junk or for that matter, the downtrodden, the low income, etc.? My thing is, if you are going to give junk, give it to the trash can because that is where it belongs!
I have purchased hot chocolate and hot coffee for bell ringers standing in the freezing wet snow and rain, I have purchased them mittens, scarves and donated when I could help out. Many of you know I make quilts for people in need, but does that mean the homeless should be less in need because they do not have a home?
I hear all the time about people afraid to walk downtown because of the homeless and yet, when I have ever been downtown, no one has asked me for money or a handout and if they did, I can say no if I want to.
How many of you can say if you lost your job today or tomorrow you would be able to hang on? I can't. Sad to say, many people who have saved their entire lives, lived frugally and put money back, when they lost their jobs, they have lost everything. After all, when you are spending your savings and not bringing any money in, it doesn't take long before the money is gone and you are in the streets.
How difficult is it for someone to offer another human being a smile? To offer them a bite to eat, a cup of warmth or a prayer? Many of the people one our streets are probably alcoholics and drug addicts, but I don't know that for fact, all I know is they are sleeping on the streets and are cold.
If you have a warm place to sleep at night, a good meal at least once a day, a home with electricity and running water and a job, thank God for that tonight and tomorrow when you see someone shivering on the street, bring them some warmth. After all, many times they will smile and thank you with bewilderment on their faces because you took a chance to make a difference in their life.