Be the Change

...There will always be someone out there that needs what you have to give.:

Last night I had the opportunity to be a part of a group mentoring session with Tulsa’s ReEntry One Stop. This organization helps women and men coming out of incarceration to reintegrate back into the community. (See link below) They set up mentors with inmates to be a friend – not a mother, babysitter, counselor, parole officer – but just someone who can be there to support them. Many women are about to go home to the same situations Read More »

Being Poor

Whatever

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching…

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Homelessness: A Choice or an Epidemic?

Last week two homeless gentlemen were passed out drunk in our work parking lot. Someone in our office called the sheriff’s office, and next thing I know, we have a fire truck, two ambulances, and three police cars at our building. They were able to get the men onto gurneys and they transported them to the nearest hospital. But this isn’t where the story ends…

The way the officers workers were treating these men was appalling. There isn’t any other way to describe it. They were blatantly making fun of them and comparing them to cockroaches.

These are living, breathing, human beings we are talking about. Someone’s father, son, mother, or daughter… Something needs to change.
I began researching ways to help the homeless. Mind you, I am working full-time, attending college full-time, and on a budget. So I was worried there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities, but I did come across this video and was inspired.

http://youtu.be/Y6fkyf9UGAE

I just made my first pack last night. I unfortunately have not found any backpacks for a decent price, but I did find drawstring bags for bulk on amazon. I purchased a dozen for only $20. These will make do, and as I find bags at thrift stores or garage sales, I will definitely stock up! I spent about 15-20 minutes at our local Dollar Tree, and it was so much easier to find things than I thought! Some items include:

• Mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste
• Wipes and GermX
• Deodorant
• A 6-pack of water, and reusable water bottles – our local parks have water bottles.
• A small variety pack of plastic silverware – I know this may not seem necessary, but I thought it would be nice to not expect someone to have to eat the food with only their hands.
• A 6-pack of pre-packaged peanuts
• 2 containers of peanut butter
• Vienna sausages
• Applesauce
• Juice
• A variety of other food items, things that would be non-perishable and light to carry.
• Socks, stocking cap, and gloves.

I am still looking for a place to buy bulk (or cheap) cold weather accessories that are still of a good quality, the ones at Dollar Tree will have to suffice for now. I would also like to find blankets to add as well. It seems everywhere I turn these days, there is someone on a corner begging, and I can’t help but observe the way they are treated.

It deeply saddens me to hear someone saying they could “get a job” or it’s “their fault” they’re in this position. But let’s face it. Most of us do not have the support system that if we lost our job or were severely injured and are not able to work – what would we do? Where would you live? Who would pay your bills? I know that it would only take a few weeks to a month for me to be essentially out on the street or at the mercy of any friends/family that could help. But they have their own lives and their own responsibilities, they can’t support another person. The following video shows just a glimpse of what some homeless people go through each day…

http://youtu.be/q-j36_9xPGY

The harsh reality of this is that they are unable to get a job once they’ve reached this point. No company is going to hire someone who can’t be dressed and presentable when they come into an interview, and this gentleman pointed out that he has no phone for them to call him on even if they did want to reach him.

Working in the recruiting industry, you also see that companies would much rather hire someone young and ‘cute’ than someone with experienced or ‘seasoned’. Even lower-end jobs will hire a young high-school kid before they hire someone off the street. It’s just the way the corporate world works. Until we come up with a way to truly help those who cannot help themselves, we will continue to have a growing epidemic. So many churches and organizations want to offer “band-aid” solutions rather than give than truly fix the issue. Don’t get me wrong, anything can help – they do need immediate food, clothing, and shelter – but we should take a deeper look into how to help long-term.

Why is it that a company will donate $5 million to help build a park – which our city has dozens of already – but we can’t provide some type of support and housing to get the homeless population off the streets? We have created a police task force designated to keeping the homeless out of the popular downtown areas and parks, but where are they supposed to go?

I hope this post will help to raise awareness of this issue, that these human beings are being treated unjustly – they just need to be given a chance. Maybe you can find a way to help in your community as well!!

Always,
Megan