You can read this same entry on valleygirltalk.wordpress.com, which is a blog written by my three closest friends. The three of them share the blogging and they are just too too funny. They have opinions about everything and promote local businesses and often ask me to guest blog. So check them out…it is well worth it. They are angels straight from heaven, if you ask me.
As you may know,I live in the middle of the historic part of downtown in my little part of the world. I park in the lot behind my building, right off an alley that has a lot of homeless traffic. Now, FYI, I am rarely afraid of the homeless. They are poor and homeless and are simply trying to gt by. I can pretty well tell the grabby guys who have just gotten out of custody because they just keep pushing…oh, you have some cans? How about some cash, pretty lady?” They are moochers and I have no use nor respect for them.
But I would be the first to tell you that in my world it is all pretty much about me. (Heck, it is ALL about me pretty much all the time.) Truth be told,, I am selfish, shallow and self adsorbed.
I’m not a deep thinker although I am a humanist and a developmentalist as far as raising and educating children and am pretty well against the way education is torturing children in our present world. IT is wrong and harmful and hurtful to children…and no amount of AK-47’s will protect them. The nonsensical tests are nothing but harmful and if you want to save your children, homeschooling is not the answer. Opting out of these tests is the answer. We have managed to dumb down the curriculum to such a degree that high school graduates know nothing except what has been on the test which is supposed to be the absolute LEAST a child should know at the end of a year. Our children are precious cargo and we can do better for them. having been a teacher for 44 years, I know the pendulum will swing back but my heart hurts for the children who’s potential has been otherwise wasted and circumvented in the meanwhile.
When I went out today to get my nails done, (money in my pocket for nails AND coffee),a homeless man was carefully rummaging thru a box I keep on the corner filled with out grown but still good clothing, socks, underwear, jeans and sweatshirts. While he was relatively clean, he was toothless and his ankles were clean as were his hands, so he is living somewhere where he can at least sponge bathe. I asked him if he was looking for something specific and he said “No, I found some jeans that will fit and I just took two pair of dry socks for my boy so he can have dry socks to go to school in. Do you think that will be okay?” Well heck, yeah! Those socks have been sitting on my ryer fora year, waiting for a partner and I’m pretty sure that is NEVER going to happen. So you betcha, take those socks for your boy! He was in the process of carefully refolding the clothing neatly and putting it back into the box.Then this man, who obviously had been sleeping outside at worst or wrapped in newspapers in a cardboard box at best asked me if I was “Miss Angel”.
Ask ANY of my friends, family or co-workers and they would all emphatically say, “Katie? Miss ANGEL? Are you kidding? Miss Groundwater is more like it!” But for this man and dozens of others, I make it my business to drop off my recyclables in small bags so they don’t have to dig thru the trash. It is bad enough to be homeless and broke to add insult to injury to be grubbing around in dumpsters.
I go through my closets ever week and just leave a little out. The homeless have no place to keep a wardrobe. The best they can do is get some clean dry clothing for today.
Right now, there is a real need for socks….any size and they do not have to match. I have a box on the corner of my building in the parking lot, which is right across from Huggy’s bar. It is private enough so that they can look for a hand up without being on display. So if you have mysterious socks in search of mates in a basket on your dryer, think about dropping them off. Sweatshirts? Jackets? It is not only grown men who are homeless. There are women and children sleeping outside as well.
I am by no means rich, but even I have about 90% of my closet filled with stuff I never wear. Why hang on to it for the mere pleasure of tossing it on the bed so I can say “Hate it! Doesn’t fit” Never liked it” “What was I thinking?” when there are people in town who do give every stitch of their pride to wear my castoffs. These are not people who can afford to go to a thrift shop. They are saving what cash they have for food.
So if you have small bags of items please give generously, The box is small, so it cannot handle ALL of your closet failures. Just a little at a time. The box is located in the parking lot right behind Deluxe cleaners, on a metal gridded box to keep it off the asphalt. It is so little to do that it is practically nothing. But someone’s child will sleep with warm feet tonight if you can just take a minute to drop off stuff you really have no use for.
Keep in mind that it is not only men who are homeless. Some families are sleeping in cardboard boxes. There are mothers with small children who are sleeping in doorways wrapped in newspapers.
If you want to give in a larger way, ask ANY grade school teacher. They know which children are living right on the edge. When I taught school (and I always taught in at-risk schools. I kept a box of outgrown socks for anyone who happened to have soaking wet socks from recess or no socks at all. I kept box of clean underpants, too…because it is entirely possible to be playing outside in the wet and end up with wet underpants….or to have come to school with no underpants at all.
I also kept changes of clothing in boxes because it is entirely possible for an active child to end up totally soaked before the first bell rang. It was NO BIG DEAL. My son often outgrew his jackets and they would find themselves on the back of the chair of a little boy who had none.
Never mentioned it. Never drew attention to it. It was enough for me to have been entrusted with this precious cargo. Did it make a difference? All I know is that it made ME different.
This is not a flag waving “look at me!” project. It is small and quiet and all but invisible. The people who benefit you may likely never ever see…but you might see one of your outgrown jackets waking down an alley, pushing a grocery cart.
And that, my friend, is the moment you will feel wings sprouting on your back.