Last week I got a text from a delivery company to say the wine I’d ordered from Slimline Wine was being delivered ! I was so excited ! As I left work I had a smile on my face.
As I started my walk to the train station, I passed my first homeless person!
I see many homeless everyday on my walk to and from the train station. It is so sad to see so many of them. Mostly men, but sometimes women too.
It goes through my mind every time I see them, why are they here? Some, I know have mental health problems, other have fallen on hard times. But what is the story for the others.
I’m going home to a lovely warm house, food on the table (well when I cook it there will be), and my latest wine order! When did these people last have that?
As the temperature drops, I can’t believe they would choose this to a home indoors ? Who would, so why are they here?
I do try to support them as much as I can. The odd £1 here, a sandwich or cup of tea there. I do try to avoid giving money, as I know some would use it for drugs or alcohol, but not all. If I am popping into a shop and I see one of them outside, I will add something extra to my shopping, to give them.
As I pass them each day, I wonder how many of them feel invisible? How many people have walked past them that day and not even acknowledged them?
On this particular day, I’m rushing home to get my train. Suddenly, I stop myself in my tracks. I know, on my journey home, I am going to see some people who won’t have that luxury of a bottle of nice wine tonight. They probably won’t even have a bed. I feel very selfish. I turn around and head to the local Tesco shop by where I work.
Inside I look around. There are still a good amount of sandwiches available. I decide to pick out a few packs.
On the way to the station, as I pass a homeless person I offer them a sandwich. The first ones got a choice. You can’t imagine the excitement of the first man, when he saw the tuna sandwich. It made me feel so humble.
As I continued my journey, I passed out sandwiches. As I reached the station I still had 1 pack left. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I saw a pile in a door way which obviously belonged to a homeless person. I gently placed the last sandwich down on an old sleeping back. It should be a nice surprise for when they return.
I appreciate that not everyone is able to do what I did. I certainly couldn’t afford to do it every day. There are far too many homeless people around to make an impact on my own. What is important though, is that we do what we can. It doesn’t have to cost us anything. A simple hello or smile is free.
We might not realise it, but that simple acknowledgement could mean everything for that person.
I also try and give them items of warm clothing, hats and gloves. Rather than put in a charity bags, I like to know I’m making a direct difference to someone.
If you are trying to lose weight and have chocolate or biscuits you don’t want, why not pass it on to them? They would appreciate anything. Everyone I have spoken to, or helped has been so grateful and polite.
A couple of years ago I got to know a lovely young man and his dog, who were homeless. He never wanted money, but was always so grateful for a cup of tea or something to eat.
He was partially blind. He couldn’t get a job because he didn’t have an address !
One day, someone decided to set up a ‘Just Giving’ page for him. The aim was to get enough money together to get him a little place to live. People donated as much as they could afford . Others provided donations such as old plates etc. The smallest of donation all added up.
Very soon he was off the streets and safe!
Unfortunately, not everyone on the street is so lucky .
So the next time you see someone who is homeless, don’t put your head down and ignore them. Say hello. Give them a smile.
The small things in life can make a huge difference.