Sunday in Kensington was cold and busy. A chilly day after a warm one usually means we will have lots of requests for cold weather items – gloves, hats, scarves, blankets and hoodies. We always run out, even though our friends and members of AIM keep us well-stocked with donations. There is never enough for everyone.
As we were driving down the Avenue, we were flagged down by J, one of the young guys we see on a regular basis. We hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, and it’s always a shock to me how someone can go downhill so fast. He was skinnier than he was two weeks ago. He was shuffling around wearing velcroed hospital slippers, hospital socks and a phone charger as a belt. He said he was just released from the hospital the day before, and they had lost his shoes and the rest of his belongings. Did we have any sneakers for him? Maybe a belt? We looked through the trunk, filled with clothing. Judi found a pair of women’s boots (kind of like uggs), and offered them to J (men’s sneakers go so fast out there and we never have enough). We couldn’t find a belt or a jacket for J. but we gave him some extra food.
Some people passing by were watching and obviously making judgement about J and maybe even about us helping him. Regardless of what he is doing on the streets, he is someone’s child. He’s a human being in need of help. He’s suffering, and a little bag of snacks, a hug and taking the time to listen are all small things we can do to let him know he matters.