Saturday, May 16, 2015

Feeding the Hungry and Homeless

I received my A2Z challenge shirt the other day and MyHubby finally took a picture. I am so proud! Yes, I need a haircut and picture taking is not for me, but we have to make memories :)



I don't go to Wallyworld often. I hate it with a passion.  I have many reasons to hate it. There are idiotic rude people. The store is so big I am exhausted when I walk out of there. You can't find employees to help you find something. They seemingly stock products in a different place every time I go. They stock product in places where you scratch your head and ask yourself, "Why here?" 


I thank God every day I have MyHubby who will do the grocery shopping after work since he passes by two of them. Since we've moved to the country, it is more of a drive to go there.

 But sometimes when I go into town I'll stop at Wallyworld when we need something.

At one of the entrances of the parking lot, there is a grassy area with a big tree where people who I assume are homeless sit there. I have come to the conclusion that they are homeless because they have their buggies or strollers with their stuff. Sometimes they have signs. 

Normally, I may go to Wallyworld once a month although I've gone a few times this month after visiting my adorable sweet Hospice patient, The last few times I've seen the same lady sitting under the tree. She wears a pink or red handkerchief in her hair, green high-water pants and a brown buttoned down shirt. She has a stroller full of stuff I can't see but every time I think it is going to topple over if she adds one more thing.

That day I drove into Wallyworld and saw her sitting in the same place. There was a nice red Ford truck parked right in front of her. There were no other cars near there so I cynically and wrongfully thought she wasn't homeless. She was just acting homeless.

In my defense, I've seen "homeless people" with signs asking for food, job or money. I have given some money. But one day I saw this man receiving dollar bills sitting in a traffic jam. Then he ran to a  brand new car and drove away. Ever since then I am very leery of people appearing as though they are homeless. I am sure most are homeless but how can you really tell?

Anyway, after my shopping  I was driving through the parking lot to head home. I was chomping on a wing I had bought from the deli. It was so crispy and delicious.  When I passed the lady again, my conscious was getting the better of me. What if that red truck is not hers?

As I was waiting for traffic I watched in my rear view mirror wondering how can someone sit there acting homeless with a nice red Ford truck. 

Traffic cleared and I was crossing the intersection when I glanced in my rear view mirror.  At that very moment I saw a man get into the red truck and drive off.

Shame on me!  I scolded myself and asked God for forgiveness.

As I drove I had a nagging thought that I should give her the rest of my wings. It wasn't much but more than she seemed to have.

My stomach was saying otherwise.That first wing was so good!

But then again she probably needs food more than I do. After all, I just bought enough groceries for at least three meals and snacks to add to what I had in my pantry, freezer and refrigerator.

I know that feeling of hunger. I know that feeling of relief and appreciation when my Mom slipped me $20 bucks which I bought groceries to put food on the table for BabyGirl and I after my divorce from her father.

Something was gnawing at me. About a half mile later, I turned around in a different parking lot and drove back to Wallyworld. I don't know why I was hesitant at all.

I parked in a spot where I could watch her. I know it's creepy. As I stared at her I saw she was really skinny and seemed malnourished about my age. I watched motorists pass her. Some glancing at her. Some ignoring her completely.

I think we are all guilty of intentionally not looking because we either don't know what to do or don't want to deal with it. After all, we have our own problems. Right?

I don't know why it was pulling me so much. I passed this lady so many times. Why was it affecting me this way THAT day?

I really wanted to go home and eat my crispy chicken.

But I knew since I was drawn to this situation I HAD to do something or I would feel guilty.

I said to myself, "Screw it." 

I drove to her rolling my window down. When I stopped in front of her she looked at me. I put out the bag of wings and offered it to her.  She hesitated.

I encouragingly said,"I know it is not much but here's some wings." 

There were 10 wings. I was going to eat 3 and make supper out of the other 7 for MyHubby and I.  

She stood up, walked towards me and I smiled at her. 

She took the bag with her dirty skeleton hands, gummy-smiled at me  and said, "Thank you! Thank you! God bless you!"

I said, "Your welcome sweetie. God bless you and have a beautiful day!"

As I drove away a weight was lifted off my shoulders and my heart became warmer. 

As I was at the intersection I had crossed over twice before waiting for traffic I glance into my rear view window. She had put the bag of chicken on top of the stroller and was digging in her stroller. Clothes, bottles and other items fell out.  I wondered what she was doing.

Then she took out what appeared to be a blue baby blanket. She daintily unfolded and shook the blanket like it was a piece of silk. Then she put it on the grass where she had been sitting. She passed her hand on the blanket like she was making sure it was neat and smooth. She sat down, opened the bag and began to eat.

The way she was preparing the blanket it was like she was getting ready for something important or elegant. She had been sitting on the grass and for chicken wings she pulled out something to sit on. I have thought about that moment a lot since that day.

A few tears flowed down my face on my way home. I had a mixture of emotions, especially sadness for all the people like her.  When I returned home I fixed half a peanut butter sandwich. As I ate, I savored the taste of the peanut butter and jelly. 

When I told Hubby later my tears flowed. Sad tears for the homeless. Happy tears for the thought I did make a little difference. I told him next time I see her I'm going to buy her and I a meal. Then I'm going to bring it to her and sit down with her and get to know her. 

Hubby told me to be careful and remember I couldn't help everyone and to ask myself how much I really wanted to get involved. It ticked me off because he was ruining my happy moment and being negative. I know he didn't mean it that way. He is just concerned because he knows me so well. He doesn't want me to get hurt.

He may be right but we all have to start somewhere. I think if everyone shared what they had, especially food, there wouldn't be so many people hungry. 

Isaiah 58:19 If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

Until Next Time..






18 comments:

  1. I MISS us girl! You're writing is so funny and by the way you look GREAT! I have to say Hooray for Great husbands, I have one of the best as well. GOD has blessed us!

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    1. I miss you too! Thank you! Yes we are very blessed with awesome husbands. The other day I went to your blog because I had not received an email of a new post and noticed you haven't been posting..you're missed! Glad to see you though!

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  2. I LOVE how you post about issues like this, because you're so honest. I look away sometimes too, sometimes try to offer a little something, sometimes think they're just faking it. It's tough to tell but it's good to follow your gut. I think it's a great idea to have lunch with her, and I'd love to read about it if you do! My husband is VERY into the homeless support around here. He's made them artsy signs to get more attention, given them some of our old clothes, bags, and books, and bought them (non alcoholic) drinks or meals. I love that he's so passionate but sometimes worry that some might take advantage of him or harm him to try and get more...but that's just how I am. Not paranoid really, but cautious.

    I teared up picturing her spreading out that blanket for a picnic. So sweet. And you are so sweet to not only have helped, but thought about it so much you went BACK to give her some food!!

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    1. Allison, MyHubby feels the same way as you. He knows I can be vulnerable and think with my heart more than my head sometimes. Your Hubby is a kind hearted man. We have given the homeless shelters clothes before. If I do have lunch with her I will surely write about my experience.

      There was a message in her gesture with the blanket that I cannot articulate but it was powerful indeed.

      Thanks for reading and your support.

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  3. That sounds like a very powerful experience. I think for many the problem of helping the homeless is just what made you hesitate. What's a scam and what's not. And what's a trap for some kind of crime. It's hard to know. I have a friend who regularly volunteers in a women's shelter. Mostly she does crafts with them. Maybe you could find a shelter or other organization that would be a somewhat controlled environment and help some of the homeless. That way you would not make yourself so vulnerable to possible dangerous situations. You really don't know this women's background. She may have some kind of illness that makes her behavior unpredictable. If it were me, I would probably give her food again, but I wouldn't engage. I would seek help from a church or other organization that had things already in place to best help her.

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    1. It was a powerful experience. You have a good idea Live and and Learn. Since then I had thought about seeking out a homeless shelter to volunteer. Thank you so much for your input and encouragement.!

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  4. You have a soft and loving heart, Lisa. And it's hard to tell the homeless from the fakers. Better to give food than money, though. I think it's illegal to panhandle on the side of the road anyway, although police don't ever seem to do anything about it. We've all been in need of help at one time or another and it's probably best to help by giving the address of an organization that will get them past having to beg every day.


    --John Duhon

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    1. Yes, it is illegal to panhandle but she wasn't. She was just sitting there. Since you and others have suggested it I will get an address to give them to get help. Thanks sweetie!

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  5. Lisa, the shirt looks great on you. Now maybe you can start some A to Z conversations with those who are curious about what it means.

    Your story is touching and it does bring up a big problem in our country and the world. Who to help? For most of us it's one person at a time and like your husband said we can't be helping everyone. We don't know the stories behind these people asking for money either. Sometimes I'm so tempted to try to engage them in conversation, but it seems so awkward.

    Last night I watched a documentary on TV called "Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home". Very moving film if you ever run across it. Most of the homeless living on the streets in L.A. are mentally ill or substance abusers. It's difficult to know what exactly to do with them. There are so many.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thank you Arlee! That is a good idea.

      That's the word, awkward. I think that is what drew me to her, she was just sitting there. I'll have to look up that documentary. The title seems familiar.

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  6. I agree with you. It's those little things that make such a big difference. I would honestly rather help out someone who is just sitting there than someone who is asking for it.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie! I agree with you. When people beg, it makes me hesitant!. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

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  7. Lisa,

    I loved this heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing this story. I'm glad you followed your heart in this instance and went back and gave the girl your wings. I have to agree that there are so many people out there that it's hard to know who is legit and really needs help. Most of the time I ignore them too, but this sounds different with her just sitting there and not begging. That part about the blanket had me in tears. I think I'll remember that for a long time, probably every time I see a homeless person here where I live. I'm glad you went back to give her the wings.

    I think it's wrong to give the homeless money but right to give them food. But we do have to be careful because we don't know anything about any of these people. I think it would be a nice gesture to give her the name of an organization that can help and tell her where it's located so she can walk there if she wants to. She probably doesn't have a phone to call them. If you do have a meal with her, I'd want to read that post too. The good karma will return to you for helping others.

    I think it's wonderful to help people down on their luck. My grandmother always helped the hobos that would ride the freight trains years ago. The track was near the farm we lived on. They were grateful to get some biscuits or whatever she had to give them. We give food to the shelter here so they can pass it out to people that need it.

    You look great in the T-shirt! And no you don't need a hair cut. Life is all about making memories. I don't take that great of pics either but I use my camera a lot and smetimes end up in a picture or two. I hope they have the T-shirts available for a while so I can get one when I can afford it.

    Blessings,
    Sunni

    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Sunni, I think that is why I was drawn to her, that she wasn't begging.

      If I see her again and share a meal with her I'll be sure to post about it. You know Sunni, as I was sitting there I thought about all the others that helped me through my life. It was a small way to pay it forward.

      Well thank you! Yes, i do need a haircut. I hate my hair on my neck..but you're kind to say so lol. And that is the only reason why I do take pictures..to make memories for my daughter to have when I am gone. I hope you can get one too!

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  8. Congrats on finishing A-Z. I've continued to visit, wanting to keep the momentum going. My blog is dedicated to helping the homeless. It's not up to us to judge them, and most aren't criminals or dangerous. Some of the comments are interesting to me, about not giving money, I disagree I think we give what we can, food, clothing, money. Each circumstance is different. I never wonder if they're legit? I do sometimes look away and then feel badly doing so. Even when we can't help, we should smile and say hello. We don't though, as a society we have fear that makes us look away, and shame I think too. If I look away, you don't exist and I don't have to feel the need to help. It's such a complex problem. I would love you to come and read all my a-z posts, some of the homeless are named and some of their stories told.

    Do be careful, and do let you heart be your guide. If you do have lunch, please tell me about it.

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    1. Congrats to you too Sandy. I am visiting other blogs too and I will definitely read yours. Being that I got fooled once, it is what makes me leery in giving money. I think the commenters was thinking, as I have, if I give them money they will go buy liquor or drugs instead of food or what they need. I will let you know about it if I have lunch with her. Thanks for dropping by!

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  9. Hi,
    Your post touched my heart. I am an ExPat American living in Europe and experience the same thing here. There are lots of homeless people and I always try to have a few Euros in my pocket so that I can share with them. My husband is always saying to me you can't feed everyone and how do you know they are needy? And I have learned it is not for me to judge whether or not they need it and then give, but to give from my heart and leave the rest to God.

    Also liked your naming of WallyWorld. We were there to visit last year and I was overwhelmed the first time we went in one. That happens every time I go to visit the USA. It takes me a few days to get used to WallyWorld.

    Wishing you a great day.
    Visiting from the IWSG.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Wow, I can't imagine a country without Wallyworld. It's certainly not my favorite place although I do shop there. Thank you sweetie. You right, we give with my heart and I'll leave it all to GOd.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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Go ahead say whatever is on your mind after reading my post. I'm not easily offended and even if you want to disagree. I 'm opened to any comments. If nothing else, say Hi. I appreciate all of you who read my blog!