When I was a kid, I knew we were poor. What I did not know and my mother saved us from ever experiencing was being homeless. But, I have had homeless relatives and homeless friends with whom I went through with them the struggle to come out .
In Palm Beach County there are over 750 homeless families and over 1600 homeless children at any given time.
I know a guy who gives me a ration of criticism for giving money to people along the road. His response is they are all drug addicts, criminals or just plain lazy. He says the solution to homelessness is to make everyone get a job and “learn how to support themselves”.
I can tell you from experience and from learning about it that being poor or being homeless has a lot less do with laziness and a great deal more to do with a few missteps and a lot of bad luck. In our present economy, those of us in the middle class may be simply the loss of a job away from homelessness.
Have you ever begged for money? Panhandled along the busy streets? Begged for food? It is a sad and difficult skill to learn. First, you have to overcome the fear and shame you find yourself in a position of having to do it. You have to harden yourself against the people who look at you with disdain and judgment written all over their faces. You have to prepare yourself for the taunts, insults and, sometimes, the food thrown at you.
One of my bosses here at the law firm, Jack Scarola, has spent the better part of his adult life working with a worthy organization called “The Lord’s Place”. Jack is a past chairman and a regular at what The Lord’s Place calls the “Sleep Out”. If it is like nearly every year, Jack’s beautiful wife Anita will be with him as will many of his friends and family. They will all gather at the Meyer Amphitheater at 6:00 PM and sleep outside all night long.
The Lord’s Place is not a place for a hand out as much as a leg up. It is an organization that will help individuals and families find a place to sleep, a place to eat and will help them get back into the job market. My wife is a principal and many of her students would not have been at school today but for The Lord’s Place helping their family. Sadly, I know about families right now living in their cars, but still trying to get their kids to school and themselves to a job.
Jack Scarola and all the volunteers will not just be sleeping out under the stars in the torrential downpour or through the onslaught of mosquitoes; they are also raising funds to help the Lord’s Place help the homeless by giving them just a little leg up.
So, if you believe as I do; that in a country like America no one and certainly no children should have to be homeless or hungry reach into your pocket and support this worthy organization. It is only a click away right here!