Saturday, December 21, 2013

Love and Compassion..It's Free Of Charge

He needed help, he had no food. His food stamps had been cancelled. He had been two days without anything to eat, was there someone who could help him, he was home bound. 

She was crying, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, no job, no money. That conversation lasted longer, but didn't end as well. More help will be needed, as she tells him she no longer wants to live.

Thursday’s are his days to answer the phone lines. The greetings are always apprehensive; the results almost always prove why.  From one call to the next, he never knows what the conversation will be, but the hope of always being able to help is there.

My oldest son works for AmeriCorps in Birmingham Alabama. More specifically he works for One Roof; which is just one of many divisions that come under the AmeriCorps umbrella. For those who are not familiar, AmeriCorps is our United States version of the Peace Corp. 

The One Roof division is not a shelter or a food bank; but they are responsible for helping to provide/organize funding for all the shelters in their area which would include monies for housing and food. They help organize programs, fill the needs of each shelter, and most importantly to create/build shelters where there are none. The primary goal of the One Roof program is to make sure all who need food and shelter get it. The calls that come in with needs are directed to the closest facility that can help.

However, there are times, when one on one help is needed and that was the case last Thursday. Food was bought for the man who was home bound, and it was taken to him. And the woman, whose life was in desperate need of the right care, was helped as well by medical professionals. 

As I sat in my chair, phone in hand, listening to his end of the conversation, I knew that when he called and asked did I have a minute, because he needed to talk out his day, that it was a vast understatement to say the least.  His words were emotionally crumbling and sad, but more importantly, it was just beginning.

The holiday months are hard for so many people; and that stretches much further and wider than anyone could ever imagine. I myself tend to fall into “funks” as I call them at this time of the year. But last night after receiving that phone call, I knew although my own feelings of temporary sadness were valid, they were not life threatening and certainly not deserving of the hold I let them have over me.

Realizing this is not the happiest column I've ever written, I believe it’s one of the most important. All that are able are obligated to reach out and give someone a reason to smile;  to leave their homes and be among other people; instead of barricading themselves off. Actions speak louder than words or money. Spend some love. It’s free.

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