Help. I’m Hungry.

Each weekday morning, I exit the freeway east of downtown and turn left just after the second light onto a one-way street. It’s 7:15. Under the overpass, a man to my right makes his bed, folding three or four blankets, stacking them neatly on the sidewalk. Sometimes I catch him urinating. I try not to notice. On the opposite side of the street, a person sleeps in a makeshift shelter made of an overturned shopping cart and cardboard boxes. Sunshine or rain. 73 degrees or 32.

The homeless weigh on my mind throughout the day. After work on my drive home, I meet others with cardboard signs. “Houston, help. I’m hungry.”

Sometimes I have a few dollars. Sometimes I mouth, “I’m sorry.” My “Sorry” is often met with a wave and a sad smile. People seem to appreciate being seen either way.

I don’t have the solution. I wish I could say I’m doing more. I know people scam, but I witness people who don’t. I’ve heard the advice: “Don’t give on the street. Give to the shelter.”

I ask myself: “What would Jesus do?”

Courtesy of cdnquotesgram.com

70 thoughts on “Help. I’m Hungry.

  1. The number of homeless people continues to grow here in the City of Los Angeles. Without a doubt, Jesus would see them, touch them, give them food, and find them shelter. With a growing number of mentally-ill individuals living on our streets, we have to be careful when approaching a homeless person. A young female nurse was recently killed by a mentally-ill homeless man at a bus stop in Downtown Los Angeles. I have opted to donate to a local charity that provides meals to those in need and to another charity that helps individuals to start a new life off of the streets. As a nation, we are facing a systemic social-economic-political injustice that needs to be addressed.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I used to see plenty of homeless people in Oklahoma City near the overpasses close to my work. I noticed there was usually one on each corner, but saw many more up under the bridge. The story was that many of them stayed in shelters at night but were required to leave during the day. Sadly, I think most of what they collected went for alcohol and tobacco. One even held a sign that said, “Why lie? I want a beer.”
    Yet, as a parent of a child who struggles with mental illness, I fear that my son may one day be homeless himself. This thought changes my whole perspective. All those folks I saw by the overpass are someone’s son or daughter. Each of them has a story and many of these tales are heart breaking.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I lived in Plano for twenty years before moving to Houston. I saw a homeless woman sitting outside of Starbucks one day. She was the first and only one I remember in all that time. She wasn’t begging, just seeking shade from the summer sun. I saw my son in her, and that broke my heart.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. This is true. I follow Joshua Coombes on Instagram. He donates his time giving haircuts to the homeless and listening to their stories. He has written a book about that and started an organization both called Do Something for Nothing.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Once a week I buy a sandwich, fruit and water for someone on the street. I know it doesn’t solve anything, and I’ve had food thrown back at me…but it’s what I do

    Liked by 3 people

  4. In the midst of all the chaos and rush to power and greed, these are the most neglected people in our society. You are right, Crystal, they need to be seen, they need to be heard. We need to find a solution and to do this all levels of government need to buy into it. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ironically I was reading Luke 6 today where Jesus said to give to everyone who asks. It is difficult to find the right balance. Who do we give to? Who is legit? Sometimes my husband and I will pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant just because we felt led to. Once we saw a man walking down a street and we turned our vehicle around to give him money. But I know I haven’t always given. I think what you said about “what would Jesus do?” Is key. I pray the Holy Spirit helps us to know when to give. Thanks for sharing this important message.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a doubter, too. But the ones I see sleeping on the street tug at my heart. With the rest, I just go with my gut and whatever I happen to have and a little humanity if nothing else.

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  6. I feel the same way. Here in California I see the homeless daily. I give what I can. I keep extra socks and a couple beanies that I crochet in my trunk and pass those out. The rents here have gone up so much and all that did was cause more people to become homeless. Its sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. In reference to what others may say in ref to helping the homeless Wayne Dyer said…”You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.” I agree with you and Wayne😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You are correct in saying that those people asking for money appreciate simply being noticed and treated as human. My employer does not want homeless people gathering around where I work, so I have a reason not to give them money or food. But I will speak to them, even if only to apologize that I have nothing to give. (And that’s what I say, “I have nothing I can give you.”) Often the simple fact that I don’t look away and pretend they aren’t there seems to mean something to them. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is an issue that weighs heavy on me: the unhomed. I listened to a podcast a few years ago that interviewed a multitude of unhomed people and the salient point, the thing of most impact that one person could do for another person was to look them in the eye, say hello, greet them as ma’am or sir. To humanize a human is incredibly profound, is it not?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The issue of homelessness is a global problem, if common citizens like us organize crowdfunding or something to rehabilitate them in any possible way, it would be really great. Thanks for raising concern for the hapless people.

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      1. Hopefully, so. After the last two years of ravaging, the awareness and compassion level towards the less privileged has perceptively increased. People are finding ways to do something about them.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I remember being 14 and going to the sweet shop on main street,me and Virginia Moore had searched hi and low to come up with 5.00 and we waited all day to go get ice cream. We walked in behind what I remember being an old man and woman,in reality they were probably 40 something.
    They were dirty,and carried back packs. We were still deciding what to get so we let them go ahead of us ,the man ordered a coffee and the woman watched him pull the change from his pocket .
    The coffee came to 49cents I remember looking at his hand opened and I quickly counted 42 cents.
    Virginia and I looked at each other for a second and we both placed our money in his hand. He was shocked as was the woman at the counter.when I told him we wanted him to take the money the woman behind us started crying.
    We both got hugged by the both of them and we left.
    That feeling was sweeter than any ice cream we could have bought. We never regretted it,or even spoke of it much less told anyone.
    I had never seen a homeless person anywhere ,much less in Guymon.
    I have family members who are homeless.
    I have told,asked begged ,dragged them to my house.
    Gave them the biggest room with the best of everything I had and each time they ended up staying a little while then leaving.and in return they would leave the room trashed,and every thing I had given them there.
    At first I would search hi and low and would usually find them asleep on the floor of the bathroom at the park.
    This is where they preferred to be.
    I don’t and probably never will understand it.
    I suppose now if they need me or need something they will come find me but I’ve just gotta quit trying to fix the problem because it’s only a problem to me.
    It makes me so sad to see people living that way but the reality is people don’t have familys or the American dream anymore .it’s rare to find them with a job and goals now.

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    1. Hi Dona! Thanks for sharing your story here and especially the one about your family. I’m sorry to hear that, and I know you must worry. I’m no doctor, but I have some experience with brain disorders. So sad!

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  12. Hello Crystal, “There but by the grace of God go I.” In my town we have places where folks can eat and then shower at the YMCA – still there is a bigger issue here that the people in power don’t seem to do much about.
    Like many people, I’m never certain what to do. Peace and love. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s such a huge problem and I believe the core issue is mental health. When someone is struggling with a mental health issue how are they supposed to get help? I think we need to find a way to house, support, provide medications, medical, and employment but also make people accountable for the services. For example staying in the shelter means staying on your medication, or showing up for a job that has been provided, keeping your quarters clean? If there’s no accountability there’s no value. I don’t have the solution but we have to start talking about it and figuring it out! Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I stopped worrying about people’s stories and if they’re true, or not. I figure, who cares? Either I have some money to give or I don’t. It’s their business if they’re lying or buying alcohol/drugs; it’s my business how I respond to someone in need.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. In common with most here, it seems, my attitude toward and interactions with the unhoused has run the gamut.

    It’s funny – face to face, I’m more generous than I am in a hypothetical or theoretical situation. Exactly opposite what you’d think would be the case, but there you have it.

    Not that I have much experience, really. Like you in Plano, Crystal, I live and work in suburbia. Still. there have been opportunities to test those principles. Particularly when I have need to visit the city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I saw a TED Talk about how Albuquerque, NM is working with their unhomed population, picking them up in a van, giving them day jobs at $9/hour. The job includes a meal and a connection to social services. I posted a link in the comments above.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I appreciate this post. My youngest, who lives in downtown Denver, sees them daily and frequently interacts with them. They tell me stories of how the city employees will sometimes spray off the streets, irrespective of unhoused folks resting right there. It’s so inhumane. I think we need to push our elected leaders to address this through affordable housing, among other things.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for sharing!!.. all you can do is follow your heart, and when you have time, let your voice be heard as you do now…“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ( Mother Teresa)… 🙂
    he problem with this world is self-centered greed and far too often people turn a blind eye to anything that doesn’t affect them personally… 🙂

    Until we meet again….
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Most might keep on roaming and sleeping on streets even after a good help. I have tried. Some choose to be happy, some demanding and ungrateful. Over the years, i have practised giving something, anything on a certain day if and anyone comes to me and asks. I give. Even though I, we are no one to give 🙂

    Thanks for sharing Crystal
    Narayan x

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  19. The lack of compassion from people saddens me. I’m probably like you in that sometimes I give a couple of dollars, some change, and sometimes nothing if I don’t have any extra or get a bad feeling.” Lumping all homeless into one group the way that some people do is wrong. Many are in that situation because of mental health reasons rather than choosing not to work.

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