So, many of you know I've had been thinking about the issue of homelessness here and there for the past couple years, mostly because I've had to explain it to Lucy. Just this Thursday on the way to the airport, we passed a homeless man with a sign that said "Please help." Of course she wanted to know what kind of help he needed, what we should do, why we can't just help him right now.
Why can't we help him right now? Because we don't have cash. Because he might spend it on booze. Because he needs real help: a bed, a home, a community. The answers are so complicated, seeing homeless people is so uncomfortable, that we get overwhelmed. We look away. We pretend not to seem them: all these unfortunate souls, who for whatever complicated reasons have found themselves not only homeless, but also, identity-less. It's too much.
I am so happy to say (and forgive the plug), we can help right now. I have had the privilege of working on a project for Mobile Loaves and Fishes to raise awareness of homelessness and advertise mobile giving: help that homeless person you see right now by getting out your phone and texting a donation to Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
The theme of our campaign is "I Am Here." Imagine what it would be like if all those homeless ghosts we ignore everyday could be seen as human beings. And we could have an immediate way to help.
We're kicking off our campaign with an event where we're putting Danny, a courageous homeless man, and Alan, the fabulous founder of MLF, up onto a billboard for two days. Our goal is to raise the visibility of the cause and raise money to get Danny and his wife Maggie (who has had a stroke and is in a wheelchair) into a home through MLF's Habitat on Wheels program. Yes, it's a little crazy, but Alan's whole mission is to lift up the homeless. We're just doing that in a very dramatic way.
If you're driving down southbound I-35 April 27 or 28, look for our billboard. If you want to help Danny and Maggie get into their new home, send an instant $10 donation by texting "Danny" to 20222. To find out more about the project, visit our website. To keep up with the conversation on Twitter, follow the #iamhere hashtag (Mom, I will explain this later), and by all means, tweet and retweet. Or RSVP to the Facebook event to show your solidarity for the cause.
And to make a difference to another human being who's just saying, "I am here," a simple "hi" is a pretty good start.