Homelessness is not pretty. People who live on the street or in temporary camps or jerry-rigged shelters have no access to normal hygiene facilities. Routine activities such as bathing become a giant challenge. Wearing freshly laundered clothes turns into an uncommon privilege rather than part of a weekly routine. How rarely we remind ourselves of the incredible convenience of washing machines and dryers!
The homeless scare us and remind us of our own vulnerability to economic disaster—and more, of the possibility of discovering that we have fallen between the cracks of a broken health care system. This system, challenging enough for those without health insurance, is nearly impossible to attain for the mentally ill who need much care and constant monitoring to regain stability.
Most would prefer to just sweep the homeless away, place them in the trash alongside other supposed debris, create the tidiness we all desire, and free our corporate conscience from necessary response.
Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” These words came in response to the anger of one of his followers when a woman poured her entire monetary worth in the form of perfume onto Jesus’ feet. The follower had cried out in protest when watching what he saw as waste, “that perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor!”
Many have taken Jesus’ words as a way to dismiss the need to care for the poor. So far, so very far from the truth. We have a clear responsibility to offer food, drink, clothing and concern to the least of those among us.
The homeless qualify. They do not tug at our heartstrings like orphaned or abused children, nor are they cute like abandoned puppies and kittens. They may smell, use language and engage in behaviors many find unacceptable, and can’t seem to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in the good ol’ American way. They are indeed the least among us.
When we deal with the homeless, we come face to face with both personal and societal failure. They will always be with us, and there will always be a corporate responsibility to help.
I am offering you an easy way to offer aid, to have a great family evening—and to watch me make a fool of myself.
Our Daily Bread, a community soup kitchen that operates from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Oak Street, provides a nutritious meal five days a week to anyone who shows up, no questions asked. Many of their clients are indeed homeless—again, the very least of these.
On Friday, February 10, a team of local civic leaders called “The Hungry Dunkers” will play the nationally acclaimed Harlem Ambassadors at 7:00 p.m. in the gym at Denton High School. The Ambassadors are a fun, highly skilled team who travel around the country playing (and pretty soundly beating!) local teams for charity.
Tickets to this event are only $10/apiece and every single penny goes to Our Daily Bread. There is no overhead because members of the local team all found sponsors whose contributions pay for the travel and lodging of the Ambassadors.
Yours truly, whom I call the OOOU player (that stands for Old, Overweight, Out-of-shape, and Uncoordinated) was recruited to “play” on the team in the hope that you, my readers, would take deep pity on me, come out in force to watch the game, enjoy a simply great, family friendly evening of skill and entertainment, and do your part to help.
Full information can be found here: http://ourdailybreaddenton.org/ or you can call this number, 940 368-4568, to get tickets.
The members of my church are finding great humor in the idea that I will be playing on this team—come on and laugh with them. I’m doing my part—won’t you do yours?