I met Sparrow a few months ago. Actually I was asking her about someone else on the street who I had helped recently, and she informed me that this person got off the street and was getting help. I had about $20 or so I was going to give to them, but I told Sparrow that she might as well have it. That was our first meeting. Over the next few months I would stop by the location she would normally be, and give her whatever I had on me at the time. This is Cincinnati, OH, off of I-75 near Northside/Clifton if you know the area.
Sparrow is a widow with a 14 and a 17 year old, which she seldom sees, but they are at least relatively close. She once had a nice house in Northside, and ran a store at the Findlay market. Sparrow is also Bipolar, and when she lost access to her medications, just getting to work became a major ordeal. As is typical with a lot of people out here, being put out on the streets is only a few paychecks away. With work coming undone, and her house being foreclosed, it wasn't long before she found herself at the end of a long exit ramp with a sign:
I had given Sparrow a fair amount of money, but nothing to get her past a few days. This life is almost impossible to escape. She has to spend 14 hrs a day looking for money (which may only be $20 or less at the end of the day). To clean up and find a job is pretty much an impossibility. I thought I felt pretty good when I gave her enough for a couple of days off of the road, but as helpful as it may have been, I quickly realized that I had done nothing to help her overall situation.
Sparrow and I talked for a while today, and we talked about gofundme. Evidently this is not the first time this has happened to her. A few years ago someone had done this for her, and then split with money. All I could do is promise her that this was not going to happen with me. I told her this might not go anywhere, as I didn't want her to get her hopes up.
Regardless, I will continue to give Sparrow whatever I have, whenever I can. All she wants is a place of her own, and the ability to maintain some dignity, and find a job. I sat with her at the edge of the off-ramp in the hot sun for a bit, and let me tell you, it sucked.
Sparrow is tough, she has to be to deal with these conditions. I'm going to do what I can to help her, for as long as I can. I'm doing this (with her permission) on the chance that maybe there is something bigger planned for her that is beyond the both of us.
After our chat, we exchanged numbers (thankfully she did have a cell). I told her to contact me if she is ever in a bad spot, and I promised to take her out for Indian food. A selfie later, and I headed off:
She always has a big smile. I'd like to really give her something to smile about.
If anyone can spare anything, it is all going to her. Maybe I set the goal high, I don't know, this is my first one of these. Any little bit is helpful. Maybe it wont change her life, but I wanted to try.
My name is Brian, I'm a Northsider in Cincinnati, and I'm asking for some help.
Thank you for reading this far....
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