Monday, December 5, 2011

Making A Difference

I have been mulling this post over and over for some time now.  I can hold back no longer.

I've written here before that my family and I go out to the streets of Tampa almost every Sunday to feed the homeless.

Did you know that in my community that can be illegal?  Unfortunately, I am not kidding.  I am, however, deeply ashamed.  The ordinance began as a way to stop panhandling on busy corners and somehow they quietly slipped in the feeding of homeless people on public property.  And, to make it worse, they are not offering another solution or alternative.  Don't our lawmakers realize these are people?  Urgh!

I am also befuddled by some of the responses we get when we talk about feeding the homeless.  Yes, there are a few people who excitedly want to join us.  Yet, there's the kid who asked our son, "Why would you help those people?  You know you are not responsible for causing them to be homeless?"  There's the lady who runs in the other direction to avoid the conversation completely too.  And, there's the guy who thinks we only talk about going to feed the homeless because we want praise and attention.

That couldn't be farther from the truth.  We have very selfish reasons for going.  We have fun and we give so little; yet, we get back so much more.

Here are just two of the comments we heard yesterday:

"Thank you for bringing your children out here.  It's one thing for adults to come, but to see the kids out here gives us hope."

And then there is Miguel.  I spoke to him for the first time last week.  He's an elderly man from Cuba.  He fled during the revolution.  His family was not so fortunate.  He's the only survivor.

When I spoke to him last week, I simply asked him if he needed anything and where he was from.  I just got him a sandwich and a bottle of water.  Yesterday, he told me that "Last week was the first time I felt that someone cared about me."

So, you see, it really is true.  You never know when what you do or say can make a positive difference in someone's life.


Traveler Wendell said...

God Bless you and your family. Thank you for making a difference. Too many people don't understand that very few homeless people would ever choose to be that way and too many people think that it's all about alcohol and drugs. They don't realize how close they might be to being homeless, either through a few bad decisions or even through absolutely no fault of their own. Thank you and your family for caring about other human beings and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

Caroline said...

I think you and your family are AMAZING! To take time out to care for others.... you deserve pats on the back, not to be hampered by twits in high places making silly decision... a phrase comes to mind for these people... "There but for the grace of God, go I" Keep up the great work!

TonyaKaye said...

Keep up your fab ministry. There are a few that spoil everything.

Pam S said...

I admired you and your family for helping the homeless, what a wonderful example to show your children.

Anna said...

You are doing such a wonderful work for God and for everyone that is touch in any form including me. God bless you for blessing so many.