A month ago, I started a new ministry that serves the homeless in my community. I fund the program with my own money from odd jobs and sales of my book BEYOND HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS. I basically hand out egg and cheese burritos and bottles of water to folks I meet around town. The majority of those I reach out to are drug addicts, have mental health issues, or a combination of the two. Men, women, young, and old, I try to reach as many of them as possible on a weekly basis.
The decision to do this came about when I was thinking about how many times I wished someone would help all of these folks I would see around town. I realized I was complaining about the lack of help, but I was not doing anything to help. I spent a huge part of my adolescence living on the streets, showering at beaches, and figuring out where my next meal would come from. I battled addiction. I could relate to them, yet I was not doing anything to help. So, with the help of my wife and a couple of friends, I set out to reach the one group of people in my community that no one wants to.
The response has been amazing. In the first week, I only managed to reach 5 people. By the second week, that number doubled, and by the third, the number of people more than tripled. It's been a blessing for me to help. For a short time, their day is a little better. They don't have to worry about one meal. One of the most common responses I get is: For a little while, they don't feel like they are being ignored. For a little while, someone talks to them like they are human again. In the end, isn't that what we all want? We want to be treated kindly. We want someone to acknowledge our existence. We want to be treated like a human being.
Interestingly, the only complaints I get are usually from behind barely opened windows of European SUV's. They like to yell about helping people they do not feel deserve help. Of course, they don't want to be seen, so they barely open their windows, and then speed off. Never once has any of them ever come out of their beautiful, air-conditioned, leather interior vehicle to talk to me face-to-face. Funny how those who have plenty like to decide for everyone else who does or does not deserve help.
For me, it does not hurt me in any way to help someone out in a small way, show some compassion to those who are less fortunate, or feed someone who hasn't eaten in days. It's not much, but I hope I will be able to expand this endeavor into something that benefits even more people. If nothing else, I hope others will be inspired to help people in need, wherever they are in the world.