We have often seen homeless men walk down our street. The HOPE Center is not far from us, as is the Community Inn, both of which allow for overnight stays.
I realize it is best to not give homeless people money, especially when they come to your door. I also know my husband not giving him a ride was a good move. Yet I think back and consider what the best response scenario is.
My husband works at Lexington Rescue Mission. I also work for a non-profit that deals with families in tough financial situations, as well as homeless people. So we've got some expertise. We're not coming from a place of naivety.
So I wonder......
Should we have little kits ready to give out to down and out people we encounter in our neighborhood? You know, a bottle of water, some granola bars, an apple, directions to New Life Day Center and Lexington Rescue Mission? Is that a practical response?
What gets me about this time around, as we've encountered homeless people frequently, is that this guy was bold enough to walk up on our porch and knock on our door. Maybe he hit up the entire street; maybe he just chose our house. I don't know.
Basil of Caesarea wrote, “When someone steals a person’s clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
If HOPE is my word of the year, if HOPE is what I'm aspiring for in my neighborhood, I'm not sure how to handle it when opportunities come knocking on the door. Are directions to a mission enough? Should I clean out my cupboard?
This video shows how a little creativity and ingenuity can change a person's situation:
Here's to HOPING......