One of the mistakes we Christians and Catholics often make is that we think our financial contributions are enough. I'm beginning to learn this as I try to reach out to homeless individuals. I've noted before that panhandlers seem to be less interested in money and more excited by more personal offerings. This may vary from place to place, but I've found that most of the homeless and poor whom I encounter are more touched when I give them a meal or a bible than if I give them money.
Robert is a fellow I encounter frequently at the exit of our local grocery store. He actually quizzed me the first time I talked with him to see if I remembered his name (after a short, two-minute conversation). It's only been a few months that I met him, but he seems to be deteriorating fast.
Today, I stopped by to give him a sandwich and some soup. He got up and gave me a hug. I could tell he was troubled, so I stayed and chatted with him for a few minutes. It turns out that he had taken a friend of his over to meet some people who let him store his bike and some other items at their store (a second-hand bookstore in Boise). Apparently, they either misunderstood Robert's intent, or they were anrgy about something else, and they told Robert to take his things and leave. This must've occured in the morning.
When I talked to him, he was devastated. He wanted to share one important person in his life with others who were also important to him. And because of that desire, he was cast further away. He invited me to sit down, and I did. He had a difficult time talking about what had happened, and he wept. I haven't seen him in this state before, and I hope he weathers it.
Please pray for Robert and all others who are chronically homeless.