Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lessons from the homeless

Over my lifetime, I've learned so many lessons about serving the homeless. Many of those lessons have come from having them stay at our house from time to time. Yes, call my wife and I crazy, but it's true. Some of them are some of my best buddies.

I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I've learned by hanging out with them. For one, they are just like you and me. Sure, they might have lived harder lives, but they are all God's children. In our own way, we're just as banged up as they are, just in a more "tidy" and "socially acceptable" way.

So here is tip number one for helping the homeless. Most of us drive by at least a few on any given day. You might see them in front of a store, or on the corner. We have all kinds of thoughts that go through our heads as we pass them, but occasionally we come up with a brilliant idea and actually try to help them! That is a good thing. God loves the poor!

No crunchy bars!
Now when it comes to giving them something to eat, many of us think about something non-perishable, like a breakfast bar, or granola bar, of piece of fruit. That is all good, but I want to let you in on a little secret. Most homeless people don't have very many, if any, teeth. What they do have are usually pretty loose. So stay away from the Crunchy Bars. You know what I mean...those hard granola bars. They can't eat them. Matter of fact they usually give them away to someone else...like me. :) If fruit is what you like, give them a banana, not an apple. :)

Gift cards are good, but not to a grocery store. You might as well just buy them a beer. Fast food gift certificates are good. They like subway too. Mac & Cheese...now you're talking!

Speaking of talking, that's what many of them like the most. Not many people actually talk to them. Not all of them are mentally ill. Many are quite nice.

Anyway, they'd want you all to know this stuff, so there you go.


Sarah Brown said...

Love this, Darrel. Thanks for giving these guys a voice where they might not have one.

Steve Jolly said...


Thanks for your post. I too spend a lot of time with the homeless. We tend to do breakfast burritos which works well for the lack of teeth issue. I never thought about that much.

I have found that people who live on the streets are lonely and crave conversation. I have had a lot of great talks with my friends on the street.

So funny you bring up subway... I have often bought a sandwich and sat down to share a meal with old and new friends I meet on the street.

Thanks for being so accepting and giving to this group of people!

nursetinkheather said...

You continue to amaze me with your love & teaching :) such a blessing from God! Thank you for sharing & making the homeless more human & less scary!