Recently, the following was seen on a sign being held by a 70ish year old woman: “Compassion: Help, would you let your Mom or Dad be on the street homeless?” I don’t know this lady’s story. I do know that she should not be sleeping on the street. I meet teenagers who are living on the streets. Sometimes, I hear their story and imagine my kids in their situation. I don’t think that teenagers should be sleeping on the streets, either.
In the past three years, more than 3000 different people have passed through the doors of the Devereux Center. People seeking help for various reasons. Out of those 3000 people only 5 have said they want to continue being homeless, .1%. Sure, some of them don’t have the skills to live in a home. Admittedly, there are those whose actions say they don’t have a desire to be housed, but deep down, they do want a place to call home that isn’t a tent or tarp outdoors. The bottom line is I don’t really care what the reason is that a person is homeless. I believe that the hope I offer them today provides the strength they need for tomorrow’s rise from the ashes. Being kind and compassionate costs nothing but to a person who has lost the ability to dream, it is priceless.
Next time you see someone holding a sign, ask yourself, “How can I be kind to a person in need?” Your answer might surprise you. It could be as simple as buying an extra burger and handing it to them or stocking up on some basic hygiene supplies to share with them. Maybe you have a gift card for a local coffee spot that would warm their physical body and their heart. Perhaps the greatest gift of all is a smile of acknowledgement and (after the days of social distancing are passed) a handshake or even a hug.