In the city of Salem Oregon there is a wide variety of homeless people. We have all kinds of them.
People standing on street corners (at almost every big supermarket) holding up signs. 'Will work
for money', 'Will work for food'. My all time favorite? 'Aw heck, I just wanna beer!' Just because
of the insane honesty of that sign I gave the gentleman $3.00.
I remember the year I was with my ex and we were walking into Walmart. There was a young kid
sitting in front of Walmart with his Grandmother. She was holding up a sign 'Will work for food'.
We went inside and I could not stop thinking of this duo sitting in front of Walmart hungry while
I was in buying my family food.
So the guilt trip hit and I walked back through the store to the front. They were still sitting
there. The young boy at about eight years old looked very sad. I walked into McDonald's and bought
them both a Happy Meal with a pop. I know it wasn't well balanced but I didn't think they'd mind
that much. I walked up and handed it to the little boy. I told him to share with his Grandma. Then
I went back into the store, to the toy section and bought the young man a small toy for ten dollars.
I didn't dare give them any money because from the looks of her, God knows what kind of whatever
Grandma might have been on (and she looked like it) but I kept thinking if they really are
homeless and hungry then that little boy needs to eat and even Grandma needed to eat. If they
weren't homeless and hungry then Grandma was using her Grandson and he deserved something nice to
be done for him. That was my arguement when my ex found me in line buying the toy.
Every year at Thanksgiving I tried to teach my kids about being thankful. One year we went and fed
the homeless at the shelter. Another year we went to a drug rehabilitation house and let them
One year I decided to invite one of my ex's (different ex) homeless friends into my house
and let him have dinner with us. Granted this man was eternally grateful, to the point of overly
so. For one, I absolutely had to let him use my shower before he could sit down at the table and
eat with us. No, you don't understand. I HAD to! That poor guy stunk from here to high heaven.
When my daughter said Grace that year she thanked God for her shower that was in her bathroom and
for just the fact that we had one. Said nothing about the wonderful meal we had before us until
her "P.S." at the very end.
There was one man, besides "George", that stood out above the rest. My best friend Jenny and I
spotted him walking down the road. He was a rather large man, dirty from head to toe. His hair
looked like it hadn't been washed for a decade or so. His clothes were dirty. His toes were stick-
ing out of the front end of his shoes. His jacket had so much mud on it Jenny and I felt like
crying just looking at the poor soul. What was even worse is that it'd been raining that day and
everything was probably much worse than it actually was but it certainly didn't help.
We got a great idea! We went to each of our houses. We got a gigantic box and filled it with
everything a man would need: Shampoo, soap, shavers, towels, blankets, jackets, shoes, boots,
rain gear, etc. We drove around and looked for the gentle giant. We found him down town at the
park. We pulled the huge box out of the trunk and showed him the contents inside.
The big man squealed like a girl and grabbed the box. He dumped the contents on the wet ground
and said "Thank you for my new home!" He then proceeded to go under the bridge and set it up.
Jenny and I looked at each other. I shrugged my shoulders and said "Home Sweet Home?" Who'd of
We proceeded to pass out the other items to the homeless people down there who needed them and
the several copies of lists we made for people to go to places and get help. It was an enriching
experience for sure!
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