I have the honor of getting to know homeless people in the Raleigh area for some time. Throughout my life, I have learned the importance of planting seeds of love. I've learned we lose nothing by treating people without homes as equals. Anyone can show love or offer hope by sharing a simple smile or by giving clothing or a meal to someone in need. However, to me, the most rewarding act of love is by choosing to walk alongside someone less fortunate on their journey.
Some homeless individuals are not ready for a different way of life. I hope and pray someday they are ready to consider a different way. Others are completely ready but need a Miracle Jump Start. I have learned small, random acts of kindness lay the foundation of someone else's miracle.
There are several families who allow me to walk with them. I am not afraid to ask the hard or uncomfortable questions in order to determine what actions are necessary for change to take place. Some of their stories are similar to yours or mine. As a single mother, I know I could be right there with them, all too easily.
Ms. Cynthia left an abusive man. She left all of her belongings behind. She has Multiple Sclerosis and her beautiful daughter "Nay Nay" has Autism. We continue to look into options and take steps toward building a different future. I have looked over her finances and credit. She can afford rent for an apartment, but is currently only able to afford the cost of a motel room. After covering the cost of the room, she will only have seventy-five cents for the remainder of January. Together we can provide a deposit for utilities, rent for an apartment and basic household items. This will give them the Jump Start needed to relocate out of the area they live in now.
I see violence and drug deals often as I go to visit these families. The parents know this is far from an ideal situation, yet they're grateful for a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads.
Ms. Helen is a single mother with four children. She is behind on bills, but continues to push through. Her daughter was hospitalized a year ago, which caused them to lose everything; everything except family. She works at WakeMed and makes $12/hr. I spend a lot of time with her children. They may live in a tiny motel room, but they are incredibly sweet and grateful children. They are a genuinely loving family, but there is no denying the pain the children feel and hardship their mother endures. They have lived in a motel room for over a year.
I am also working with a single mom with two baby boys as well as a few other people I have met in different ways. I spend a lot of time talking with each person. We get brutally honest. It's the only way we are able to move forward.
Ms. April's four kids won my heart the moment I met them after the motel fire. They have been at the Raleigh Inn for seven weeks. They are of the working poor. One job loss and two preschool aged children makes it impossible to work and pay for daycare. Her husband works with a moving company. They are so full of love and hope. They just need a Jump Start.
If we all put in a little, I believe we can have many of these families in their own places soon. I have worked with homeless for years, and money is always distributed directly to the resources. Most of us are aware of how easily the demands of everyday life can deter our financial goals. Giving money directly to where it is owed helps keep the focus on the bigger goal: having their own home. Survival mode gives us short-range vision. We can help them meet their long-term goals.
Thank you to all who have supported this cause through generous donations or by sharing gifts with people who need and want help. I am truly amazed by the amount of love I witness regularly through this incredible cause. I am grateful to all who are willing to walk with us on this journey, however you're able to do so.
- Beth Baker
- Karen Floyd
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