This is the hardest piece for me to write. This was my third year of doing Winter Relief and the stories come alive in moments. Whether it was what they have for a late night dinner to their personal routines. They told a story. The story was they have a life and presence. It didn't matter they are homeless as we all are homeless in true. We choose not to see it. Their homelessness was physical and easiest to spot. Their homelessness is the scariest.
When you are in that space, even if you are on the cusp of homelessness yourself, you understood the blessings of even the small things. The gift of a door with privacy and time to be by yourself. The joy of special moments being present in your sight whether small or large. The warmth of a thick blanket covering you after a tiring day at work. You knew one thing when you are there, which was the simple act of being presence. The simple act of caring.
The things these individuals received was connection and faith. People so often see people who are homeless because of a bad lifestyle but the truth is anyone can become homeless. Homelessness doesn't know class, race, religion, gender, or employment. Homelessness is scary place and lonely. Hopefully through Winter Relief it isn't so scary and lonely, hopefully...
The most humor moments of the night was the struggle to stay awake. The middle of night I found my friend, coffee-man, and we made eye contact. He wanted his coffee and I was overjoyed to share the moment. He made me laugh inside as coffee is a small thing and so normal. He talked about how strong it wasn't and how he needed to remix and still would not be right. I found another gentlemen to talk to and coffee-man told us we were talking too loud and they would blame him. Another moment was with Jesse, from AACC to UCCA, when I found our AACC friend on Facebook, Andre, and started a conversation about being cold out there. I started a word game with "cold" words. Here were some of them: Cool Finger & the Midas Touch, Frozen Light, As The Frozen turns, Harry Potter & The Goblet of Ice, Golden Cold Awards hosted by Jack Frost, and The Frostinator. We were reminded about the cold when people wanted to sleep in the bathroom including ourselves.
Winter Relief is something worth doing and a good reminder about homelessness. Homelessness is in the heart too and yet it is the homeless that reminders us that connections and faith are strengths. Imagine how much strength it takes to be without a home. I look forward to next year and what I can do throughout the year...Thank you, Thank you.