On bitterly cold mornings, I can frequently count twenty homeless persons sleeping in Boston’s North Station.
They are huddled together in corners or sprawled on station benches, wrapped in multiple layers of dirty gray-brown clothes and blankets, surrounded by plastic bags and heaps of what appears to be refuse.
These unfortunate human beings could be me or you, your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt or uncle. They warrant our compassion.
The station workers turn a blind eye to the ramshackle overnight lodgers who seek refuge from the inclement New England weather, and disappear outside before rush hour commences.
My sister recounted a story about one homeless individual which I will never forget.
A friend of hers traveled to New York City on business. While hurrying for an appointment in Lower Manhattan, he caught sight of a homeless man.
Her friend recognized something in the man’s face and called out a name. Much to his amazement, the homeless man answered.
Shocked, my sister’s friend approached the homeless man to ask what had happened since their graduation from college four years ago.
The man’s misadventure began with his father’s untimely death. Then, his mother was diagnosed with early dementia and passed. He lost his job and was unable to find employment.
The onset of depression followed a more serious illness and resulted in financial ruin. Since he was an only child with no close relations nor financial safety net, he became destitute.
This story does have a happy end though.
My sister’s friend cancelled all appointments in the City and turned his attention to helping his unfortunate classmate. He secured public health services, affordable housing and raised funds to pay for the man’s wardrobe plus day-to-day expenses. When last my sister heard, the man was gainfully employed and doing well.
I folded the Money Bed this evening thinking of the homeless. Tomorrow, I will make a donation to a local shelter.