A few weeks back, I delivered food to a shelter, and some guy was on a rant and began to yell at me. I still have no idea what his overall point was, or if he even had one. He was yelling something about me, and about America. For all I know, he thought I was from another country. It was obvious he was speaking from a place of pain but I could never really nail down what exactly it was he was trying to communicate.
America? What about America? And what, about America, would someone yell at me as I’m delivering food to them?
Maybe he expects more of me, or America. Maybe he feels like America has turned it’s back on him. America is a very generous country, and if you have to be in poverty, America is probably the place to do it. But it’s no fun being on the bottom rung of any country, and he obviously felt enraged about something so maybe that’s where he sees himself.
We can do more. We waste enough resources to feed and clothe all of the people of the world. I’m not talking about any of us giving up what we have. I’m talking about not wasting what we don’t need. Search the site, and you’ll see actual numbers of what I’m talking about but it’s staggering.
I met a couple who live in a tent community. It’s not far away from the shelter, but sometimes the shelter for all the good things it provides, just isn’t the scene some people want to handle, even if the alternative means living outside. I’ve heard about noise, theft, violence and overcrowding. I’m glad the shelters are there, and they are a lifeline, but for those who don’t want to be there, I could understand it.
But to live in this weather, in a tent?
I talked with “Tiny”. He’s my age. Very open, honest, friendly guy. He didn’t fit the model of what some people view as a homeless person. Any other setting, you’d never know.
I had to ask what the battery was for. I figured lighting. But they use it for heat. Heat? Why not propane? There are catalytic converters, we use a device like it on the corner sometimes.
Nope. He says that’s why there is one less tent there. A guy left it on, it burned up all he had.
I had called out when I arrived, so people wouldn’t think I had come to steal something or, well…anyone is going to want a guy to announce his intentions before walking up on their lawn and snapping pictures.
Some others have indeed left to go to the shelters because of the cold, but their homes are still there.
The couple say others have come, snapped pictures but wanted nothing to do with them, just sold the pictures somewhere and moved on. But some church folks come down, bring water (a constant need and more difficult to carry than some other things) and other stuff they need. I didn’t want to show up empty handed, so I brought some of the items my aunt has given us and some food. Medical conditions are a constant issue, but help is on the way for some of that as well.
This is one camp, there are many others, but I wanted to share a bit of what I saw there today. I thank “Tiny” and “K” for their hospitality and for givingme their insight on this issue.