I’m that person who would block certain emails in December because I was tired of being asked for donations. I’d see a homeless person digging in the garbage and wonder why they didn’t get public assistance. I’d actually get annoyed with people who had children on the street corner begging for handouts. In my mind it was just a scam. It’s not that I was a heartless Grinch (ok, maybe a little Grinch-like), it’s just that I was jaded.

I was jaded all the way to a loss of compassion. The word ‘homeless’ triggered a stereotypical picture of the old bum collecting cans to exchange for alcohol. I knew they could ‘get help’ if they really wanted to.

As fate would have it, I moved next door to a lady who ran a non-profit. A homeless shelter. We’d take walks, talk about life, and somehow the conversation turned to the work she was doing with the homeless. I’m pretty sure she could see my jaded, disbelieving thoughts as she’d tell me success stories from some of ‘her people’ (I always thought of them as her people).

Then I met some of her people. A family. The mom worked. Took public transport two hours in the morning and two hours at night to get to her full time job in another city. They had three children, the youngest about the same age as my little E, and two more in elementary school. These were good people, hardworking people, who through a series of circumstances, lived in a van behind a grocery store. Suddenly the word homeless had a new face. I wanted to do something for these people. I wanted to help the children living in the van. I asked my neighbor how I could help, and now here I am.

It’s December, and I’m asking for donations from people who might be a lot like I was. People jaded by what they see on the news and in the world. Elk Grove HART is a non-profit with 100% of the proceeds going directly to families and individuals in need. They are doing a fund raising campaign to help raise $10,000 for the homeless right in our local community. If you are participating in #GivingTuesday and are wondering which cause to donate to, this is great one.

Follow the link to donate, or just to read more about the important work happening right now.



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