Sometimes it is difficult to not judge & I am always working on this myself. There are so many people in the parks that are down on their luck & of course there are always a few of the others too, including some mental illness people.
I am a responsible, hard-working, intelligent woman with my own business. And each month I am struggling to get my bills paid, so I am concerned about being homeless too. It could happen to any of us at any moment. So part of what I set out to do is to learn & to teach to not judge.
Here are some of the stories about the people that I feed every week & have met along the way in the parks.
Most of the time I provide food for an elderly black man of around age 60. His nickname is "Big" & he lives in a very, very old white Cadillac in the parking lot of one of the parks I go to. He has Edema & his feet are three times as big as normal. I always cook with less salt for him, so he can eat along with all the others. "Big" has a hard time walking, or doing anything physical for that matter. He told me once that he used to work for a local organization & his job was to find homes for the homeless. One day he asked for a Bible in big print. I often see him surrounded by people & I wouldn't be surprised if he is still helping people in his own way. :)
Another man, who is in his 40ies now, once told me that his child died years ago & when he learned about it he went on a rampage, hitting everyone & everything. He ended up in prison & has been having a hard time getting back on his feet.
That story triggered another homeless man telling me that his son was killed by someone & when he learned about it he took his gun & started shooting everything in sight. He didn't shoot any people or kill anyone, he just reacted by going crazy with the gun. This middle aged man also ended up in prison & has also been homeless since he came out. He calls me an Angel everytime I come by there with food. :)
My own son died 11 years ago due to an error a pharmacy made & I have a lot of compassion for those two fathers. I didn't react the same way, but burying my child was the hardest thing I ever did in this lifetime. Thank God I was spiritually aware & eventually muddled my way through most of the grief.
Then there is another older man, his wife & their little Wiener Dog. They are such a precious couple & I always look forward to seeing them every week. She is in the beginning stages of Alzheimers & he just hovers over her so sweetly. He always gets a plate of food for his wife first & then he comes back to get his own after that. Sometimes we even make a small bowl for the dog too. :) Not long ago someone drunk hit him over the head with a baseball bat & the old man ended up in the hospital with blood near his brain & one side of his body being paralized. We weren't sure if he was ever going to be okay again. But I am so happy that every time I see him he is a little better & stronger. They are still homeless, but we are praying that because of what happened to him there will be a little place available for them really soon through the City of Tucson or some organization. He is actually looking for a job now to work with horses. He says he is very good with horses & has worked with them before.
And there is another old black man who keeps asking me if I am married. :) He is serious about this & makes me laugh everytime he asks.
I also feed a Native American man who reads a lot & I always take books to him & then leave the rest for the others in the parks. My friend Pinau just donated a whole bunch of books & they have gone out to many already.
At times I take clothes & shoes, also blankets when it's cold & when people donate them to me for the homeless. Since it is in the mid 90ies here now I am on the look-out for summer clothes.
When it rains I always get asked for big plastic trash bags to put on the ground, so they can stay dry & not having to sleep on wet grass.
I periodically get asked for Aspirin or Tylenol, wet wipes, & something to drink, none of which I have money for. The donations are coming in very, very slowly, so yesterday I bought all the food for this weekends meals from my own money & I still don't have my own house payment together for this month. I know that Creator/God will provide & I will keep my faith in that. :) Sometimes it is challenging though. :o Please pray for me.
Today, for this weekend, I am making Burritos with Chorizo (a spicy Mexican sausage), rice, pinto beans, green chilies, cheese & shredded chicken rolled into a flour tortilla. I've made it once before & it was a big hit with everyone. So yesterday I cooked 20 lbs. of chicken legs & thighs & then shredded them for the burrito's today. Wow, what a job that was, but it was cooked with Love. :)
More later .........................