Today Abby and I completed a simple and easy project. We made a care kit for a homeless person, which will stay in my car until we see someone who needs it some day. Living in the Dallas area, I don’t see a ton of homeless people out on the streets. I’m not sure if that’s more a result of a good economy or strict laws against it, but whatever the reason, my kids aren’t exposed to homelessness on a regular basis.
I do, however, occasionally come across a homeless person. My normal reaction has always been to stay as far away as humanly possible, avoid all eye contact, and basically pretend that the person isn’t there. I have a feeling that I’m not alone.
This past week, I was in downtown Dallas for a court appearance. After I left the courthouse, I swung in to a 7-11 for a quick snack. As soon as I got in the car, a man approached me and asked if I could spare a dollar, or even 50 cents. For some reason, I didn’t give him my usual response of “No Thank You,” followed by power walking as fast as possible into the store. Instead, I told him that I would be back after I got some change. He waited patiently outside, and when I returned, I gave him a dollar. Just one dollar. He seemed so genuinely happy.
Who knows what he used that dollar for. It very well may have been for a purchase I would not approve of. I also realize that the general consensus is that you shouldn’t give cash to homeless people (or beggars in general) because they will use the money to buy alcohol, drugs, etc.
When I got home that night, I happened across another service blog that included the suggestion to make a care kit for a homeless person and keep it in your car. I thought that was a great idea! That blogger (whose blog I can’t find today or I would link back to it) said she called the homeless shelter and asked what should be included in such a kit. Taking her suggestions, today we bought some socks, a comb, and a bunch of travel sized items: a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shaving cream, a single razor, lotion and chap stick. Abby and I packed it up in a big Ziploc baggie, and it is now stored in the center console of my car.
The next time we come across a homeless person, we’ll be ready with a gift that will hopefully be very much appreciated!