Just went down to Monroe Park again today (read my previous post the last time I went) – this time with my son. Bloody cold today, and apparently the weather is going to get worse.
I got to see a few of the people I met last time. I was kind-of hesitant to put their names in my prior post, but apparently they have been recently written about – in this article by the Richmond Times-Dispatch (funny thing is that Mary who I will talk about in a second showed me the article and pointed out herself out). Two in particular that I had talked with for awhile last time was Maurice and Mary Williams. I also talked a little bit with a Bill Tucker (pic of him on right from Richmond Times-Dispatch), and Ron White (I believe that was his last name). Just about all these guys were mentioned in that article by the way…
I wanted to tell a little bit about their stories – their lives. Why? Because life happens and changes – maybe to you one day.
- Mary – She was the first I recognized today and immediately came up to us to say hi. She told me how she has been able to get her diabetes medicine lately, which is really good. She also mentioned how she was wanting to try to visit her mother who lives in a nursing home in Chase City… she was going to try to take a bus there Monday but needed $10.98. Amazing that I just so happened to have exactly $11 in my pocket (no joke). I really understand this one as my mom also is a nursing home too. In the article she pointed out how what she mostly wants is a place to stay and that lately she has been staying in an abandoned house in Church Hill. She used to work but something happened to her she couldn’t keep the job. Eventually she couldn’t make ends meet. I thought she said for awhile she lived with her daughter, but she felt it was too much of a strain on her due to her own family with her having a family herself.
- Ron White – I didn’t talk to him much but he was really looking for another pair of jeans when I saw him last (not today). Apparently he has a 2nd pair but that’s it. I had a pair that I left with Mary – hopefully he or someone else can get good use out of them.
- Bill Tucker – When I initially talked with him last time (not today), he was really trying to get some money to able to take a bus home. He said he used to be homeless and comes down there a lot, but is no longer homeless and lives somewhere on the west side. Later I happened to have a pair of shoes – and Mary pointed out how was in need of a pair… so he got them.
- Maurice – this guy I talked to for over an hour last time, but today he seemed distant and I couldn’t stay that long with my son to talk with him. He said that he and his girlfriend moved out here but ended up losing their money (something with regards to their checkbook, I don’t fully remember). He was trying to get a job (had a job interview down in Chester) so they could find a place to live. He was really wondering if he knew anyone that could give him a chance in a rental, since he really didn’t have any good references or anything. At night he is part of CARITAS, but his girlfriend is in HomeAgain.
Unusual stories, but everyday lives. Maurice mentioned something before that this is a place when life gets rough and you have no other place to go. Now I won’t be blind to the fact that there probably are some that could get out and find a job, maybe get a house. Nor will I discredit the fact that there are resources out there to help them. But I will say that there are several things I need to do or change, and have the resources to help me … but I don’t always use them. I struggle in wanting to do it myself, probably like some of them do too.
On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me.” Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, “Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me.” These will ask Him, “When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?” And Jesus will answer them, “Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!”
When I got there, a church group was serving lunch. I talked with them for awhile – they were with New Life Outreach International Church. It just happens to be down the street from me… they come ever Saturday and serve bag lunches, coffee and a few things like bags, clothes, hats, blankets, jackets, gloves, etc. You know – the stuff that is really needed.
Some related links:
- A list of some volunteering opportunities related to the homeless
- Another Richmond Times-Dispatch article “Bottom Line: We Can Solve This Problem”
- “You and I Have Too Much” by Church for Men Florida
- Why serve the poor
- Serving the Poor While Walking with Them