Give With Your Whole Heart

Tomorrow is my birthday. In honor of this occasion, I am asking friends and my readers to give back.

This is coming from a place of goodness in the request. It’s coming from MY heart, in the hopes that people will make an effort and give with their whole hearts.

I know someone who is suffering greatly due to the abandonment of family, friends, and the system, and I’d like to see this person emerge stronger, but I have immense doubts this will be achieved. 😦

If you have gently used clothing you no longer wear or that your children no longer wear, please consider finding a local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, etc., and donating those items to help someone in need. Sweaters, sweatshirts, fleece and flannel, thick socks; things that will help keep people warm. Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, coats, air mattresses, & tents are all items needed as well. If you live in a cold climate, as I do, you know the importance such items have during the cold, long months of winter. Anything you can do will be an amazing blessing you’re bestowing on someone else.

If clothes are not an option (I know for me, I can’t part with what little I physically have here with me.) then please look into local food pantries and consider dropping off some canned goods OR doing that for a local soup kitchen. Maybe donate the frozen turkey many of us earn “free” by purchasing at our local grocery stores during the holiday season. These are places that provide food to families in need and many churches and soup kitchens help feed our homeless. Toiletries are also in need, so even if you donate body wash, bar soap, or a package of wash clothes and/or towels, that would be awesome, too.

If you don’t have the time for any of these things, as many busy people don’t, then it’s easy to make small donations to various charities that truly help the homeless. Take five minutes and do some research, but leave out places like the Salvation Army who people keep telling me are NOT truly helping people any more. I’ve personally witnessed them blowing people in need off and only accepting donations, as opposed to giving back to the people they’re supposed to be helping, so I’d leave them off potential lists based on that behavior. It’s not hard to do a little homework. Churches, Temples, the YMCA, and many non-profit organizations do great work for the homeless. They provide daily meals, clothes, showers, clean laundry, and the list goes on. They treat people like human-beings, and that’s important.

Please realize that the homeless situation in this country (and many others) is dreadful. Homeless does not always equate to “uneducated”, “drug addict”, “alcoholic”, “lazy person who refuses to work”, or many other stigmas placed upon the word “homeless”. Millions of people have lost their homes due to health situations, banks defrauding people on loans, natural disasters, and they have no place left to turn. They’re depressed, devastated, and even if they’ve spent a year reaching out to different organizations, they are often still at square one. Instead of turning a blind eye, as we’ve all done at least a dozen or more times in our lives, please do something. Even the smallest gesture is huge in the eyes of someone who is hurting. It will make you feel good knowing you helped someone in need.

Nearly a year ago, I was almost homeless. Someone generously reached out with a caring heart and offered me a place to live so that I can get back on my feet, get my health in order, etc. However, I’m not special. Had it not been for this person, I’d be on the streets now. I would have had to give up far more than what I did give up, which was basically 99% of my life. Being as sick as I am; I’d likely be dead today instead of writing this. There is only so much the mind, body, and soul can take before it breaks.

A few years ago I was reading a book (and I’ll happily share the name of the book, if asked) where the “writer” had told her children that “people are homeless because they didn’t go to college”, in a scare tactic to let her daughters know that they all had to go to college, mostly because she did not, regretted it, but is now a millionaire that thinks she’s not raising spoiled, privileged children. I was appalled, mortified, outraged, and utterly disgusted by that particular statement, among many others. I cannot imagine, as a writer or editor (and I’ll use her version of “writer” loosely, because she probably dictated the entire thing to someone), ever allowing a line like that to be published, leave alone letting someone say it out loud to children, OR adults. There are ways to educate your children on socioeconomic issues without resorting to pure ignorance.

There are veterans who are homeless; people who defended our freedoms and should be taken care of when they return, but often aren’t. There are plenty of college-educated people who lost their homes, cannot find work (because despite what you read and get told; employment opportunities in this country are still very bad.), and end up homeless. It’s not a choice; it’s a reality. Yes, plenty of these people are sick, but a great many of them didn’t start out that way.

Ultimately. the good we send out into the world returns threefold. If we do it again, it returns in ten. Do something good. Look people in the eye when you do it. You’ll be glad that you did.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.