Friday, December 12, 2008

The homeless experience

In my last post, I talked about getting stuff together for the homeless shelter. Well, I made a few blankets and scarfs and also raided my house for warm stuff like gloves. Only one of my Friends actually donated to my cause, but it was okay. I had 3 boxes full of stuff! So, here is my experience.

I drove up to the shelter and there were about 30 homeless people just loitering around a fire. Most of them were very dirty, probably from standing over fires all day. I parked about 100 feet away from the entrance and put Kennedy into her stroller. I then piled up to of the boxes on top of the stroller and began to push her, but the stroller would not budge. The brakes were still on. At this point, a homeless woman saw my struggle and offered to come and help me. "No thank you." I said. "I just have the brakes on. She then said "But I can help you. I can push the baby." I really would have let her do it because I saw that she was just starving for attention, but I was almost to the door by now so I said thank you and continued in. She said "Your welcome. Glad I could help." haha. When I got to the door, people were already there to hold the door open for me. One lady in a wheel chair asked how I was doing. They all seemed so friendly! So, I walk up to the front desk and the lady asks "Do you gotta bed card?"
"Excuse me?" I asked
"A bed card. You've gotta have a bed card to sleep here."
I was so embarrassed! I mean, my child is in a nice dress with a bow in her hair and I didn't think I looked too bad.
"Um...I am just dropping off some donations." I said trying not to sound offended.
The lady apologized and then complimented the blankets I had made. As I left, I looked around at all of the homeless people standing around the fire. Some were laughing, others were quiet and one lady was even screaming bloody murder in the corner. It made me sad to think of how they all got to that point in their lives. If only they had someone who loved them, educated them, cared for them, would they still be where they are today? It is not my place to judge how they got there, but it is sad that they are.

One last thought. When I was driving home, I thought to myself "why was I embarrassed when the lady thought that i was homeless?" You can't always tell that a person is homeless by how they dress or what they look like. Some people are suffering in silence and living out of their cars. Some of the homeless have faces just like ours and where name brand clothes (from someone else perhaps). It was just a thought I had. Then I was not embarrassed anymore.


lizdye said...

You are awesome. Im so proud of you. I need to learn from your example.

Alicia States said...

I've been waiting until I had a quiet moment to read this post. Very interesting. I think you made a very good point - you can't tell by looking at someone what their situation could possibly be! Thanks for sharing, Carli!