If you live in a city of any substantial size, you have passed people standing at an intersection.
You've seen them. Cardboard sign in hand, a few words scribbled in black marker to capture attention; they appear disheveled, downtrodden, desperate.
Sadly, the most common reaction is to give a side glance, pass a quick judgement as to why they are there, avoid eye contact while we do our best to ignore the person standing a mere five feet away - then drive away to our busy day - without a second thought of the soul we left behind.
In the simplest of terms, we are all human beings stuck to this rotating rock by gravity, not by choice. Each and every person we encounter deserves grace and respect. Truly, aren't we all just doing our best to get through this journey called life?
Over the year, we have met people along our road. Our church makes blessing bags to hand out to those in need of small pick-me ups. This ziplock bag of a few essential items and a small note of appreciation allows us the opportunity to connect with the person asking for help.
Sometimes we were blessed to listen to their stories, sharing in their moment, sometimes we only got their name and sometimes it was just a smile of acknowledgement they are seen.
Names are deeply important to our narratives. They contain meaning. They connect us to our heritage, to our selves, to each other and to our future. Naming was a privilege God gave to Adam and Eve with all the things of the earth. God named those He called to His purpose. Abram became Abraham. Simon became Peter. Saul became Paul. A new name = a new life.
Homeless people aren't "nobodies" or a statistic. Behind each name is a human being, with a beating heart that deserves to be loved and a story to be shared.
Look, for most of us - life can be tough. The great news is the burden is light if we share it together.
We ask to keep these people in your prayers and thoughts. If you are inspired to make blessing bags and pass them out to those in need, check out the list of common items below. Don't forget to get their name!
- Bryan (KY) recently lost his mother since reconnecting after a long estrangement. He needed money to get a state ID to apply for a job but needs a job to pay for the state ID.
- Michael (MS) has traveled all over the South. He was recently hit by a car (hit and run) and was "just fine." He told me to leave before I was hit too.
- Justin (OH) a young veteran on the streets for some time. He was asking for lunch money.
- Jack (KY)
- David (KY) is an older gentleman who has been on the streets for years. Aaron always buys him a cup of coffee and chats with him. David loves having someone to talk with.
- Russell and Chrissy (OH)
- Jim (KY)
- Girl with the red hair (OH) is frequently seen at the intersection of a shopping strip. She asked for money for food and we gave her our lunch leftovers (it was a full portion).
- Garrett and Chester (OH)
- Velna (OH) is the mother of three: Tyrell (16 yo), a 7 yo and a 6 yo. She recently moved her family from Atlanta to Cincinnati for better work. During the day, she is a dishwasher at a local restaurant and each night she "gets her hustle on" by begging for money. Tyrell does not like that she is on the streets begging. It's the only way she can make ends meet.