As I think back as far as my teens, I can clearly remember thinking about homeless people. Not in a faraway detached way either. There was the one time when I was seventeen and faced with a situation that I needed to find a home but I was not homeless. I had just been declared an adult by the county court. They ran out of foster homes for me to live in and I needed a place to live. I wouldn't have been put out on the street so I don't know why homelessness even entered my mind at that time.
Throughout my life I have done things in my own quiet way that was within my means and my nerve to do personally. I would buy large quantities of sample products like shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, small wash cloth, cans that could be opened without a can opener of things like meats, fruit. I put some of each in a plastic shopping bag and drove to an area of town I didn't live in and would drive and see someone sitting on the sidewalk and pull over, get out, and hand them the bag and ask them if I could hug them. The hug was for me more than for them.
Recently I found this site for The Little Red Wagon Foundation, and I have been grinning ever since I read about this boy. He could be my little brother. Well, not technically, but you know what I mean. When I watched the little video of his sorting the items and putting the items into a bag to deliver to people, I loved it. I haven't done that in over six years now but there are things I can do and I will.
In September 2006 I wrote a post in this blog about homelessness. This subject has crept up here and there in my life for years. Little did I know I would experience homelessness up close and personal.
In early August 2008 it became necessary for me to flee the house I shared with hubby. He had not been taking the correct meds for his bipolar disorder. He thought he was and he did take them daily but when he headed into a manic episode, the seduction of the mania was too strong. After a couple months of living with a raving, raging stranger I fled. Of course, with most stories, there is much more to this. Maybe for another time. All I can say about that particular time in my life is it was the absolute saddest time I have ever had. Sad to watch someone I love killing himself and sad for my hopeless situation. The police found hubby and kindly and lovingly delivered him to a hospital ready to help him. The kind people at the police department found an opening at a homeless shelter and helped me get there. I lived at the shelter three and a half months. I didn't have to sleep on a sidewalk or under a cardboard box or even in relative luxury in a tent in a park. I was in a room with four women in bunk beds. There was a kitchen with food and we took turns making evening meals and helping with the children. There were bathrooms. We were assigned chores. Things ran smoothly. When I arrived I was on overload. It took a couple weeks for me to be able to talk or participate. Months later I was a different person. I was in therapy and getting help. I am sure I will write more another time on the experience and help I received. As I read other blogs and hear the courageous and kind acts people do for homeless people, I am associated in some way that wasn't there before my experience in 2008. And I am grateful for all of it.