We need to be more hands on when we’re out and about, helping people who are homeless. I came to face to face with a homeless guy who was sitting on the floor outside my local supermarket, when I was out grocery shopping on Sunday.
I noticed an empty packet of sandwiches next to him, which had probably been there for some time. I stopped to give him money; his eyes lit up when he saw how much I’d put in his hand. It was enough to buy him two meals. It felt good when I came out of the store and he’d gone. I knew he’d gone to buy his next meal.
Before I left, we exchanged conversation, he thanked me, told me to take care and I told him to take care also. As he smiled, I made my way into the store feeling good. I’m not rich, I have a roof over my head, therefore I can afford to make a difference.
When I came back out of the store he wasn’t there. I smiled to myself because I knew I had made a difference and he would live another night. It’s wrong for us to assume or form opinions on people who are homeless. Charities like The Salvation Army and Centrepoint are there to help people like the man I found.
We can’t know why people are homeless, it’s not our place to question their circumstances, but we must make a difference. It’s also not our job to make a judgment, instead we must make that person’s life more bearable, so that they may find the courage with food in their bellies, to make themselves mentally and emotionally stronger. No one chooses to make themselves homeless.
It is important we take away the stigma around homelessness and disability, anything and everything that makes us different and welcome difference into society, into our communities, and into our lives. We must continually think about people on the streets, we cross their paths for a reason; we must be selfless, less selfish and put others who need our help first.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. Please don’t walk past someone who is begging for money, because the next time you walk past them they could be dead on the street. Winter is such a cruel time of year for those who find themselves homeless.