Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Saturday, April 05, 2003

W&M Night In A Box

Last night's meeting at W&M went well, considering this was Ally's first year organizing it and the student body has only done this a couple of times. Although I thought it started at 7:00, it technically didn't pick up as a crowd until 9:00 when the band started. But, by this time, my husband and I had already handed out info brochures on the 'truth about homelessness' and our cards. We had several groups gather around to ask questions and listen to our stories. The looks in their eyes were priceless. Almost the extreme opposite of the homeless people that typically have nothing left in their eyes but sadness and lost of hope. Right before the band started to play, a decent crowd had built up, but unfortunately, twenty minutes into their playing, several started to leave. I told Ally "You have to do something quick to keep the people from leaving!" (We had already watch 12 people walk past by that point.) She said "OK you are on next!" She jumped up to announce me (uh oh, here is my fear of microphones coming up. I can speak fine in front of people until that silly objects is before me.) Prior to going to the meeting, I was told I could have 3 minutes. Then at the meeting it went to five. Then before she went up, it was at ten+. Now let me paint this picture for you:

For 2 days I didn't shower or brush my teeth. I worked outside fully layered to work up a nice smell. A few hours before the meeting I cut our backyard in 80 degree temps with a pushmower and layered in clothes. An hour before the meeting, I sat in the dirt and scooted around, front and backside of me to make sure I was nicely couted with dirt. I loaded gel into my hair and while it was wet, I dump dirt all over it and my face. Then to top it off, I poured a whole bottle of cheap liquor all over myself, head to toe. Sounds lovely, huh. What was my point? I wanted to be the stereotyped homeless person that most picture when they hear the word.

When I got up on stage, I told the people (which many I had already spoken with prior to) that I was there to play devil's advocate with them. That how I looked and smelled like is uncommon for the majority of homeless people. Also, it is wonderful what they are trying to make others aware of, but very few sleep in cardboard boxes (and typically it is only those who are hiding from the law or they are runaways who do that.) Many of them have college degrees just as they (the students) will soon have. I explained the top reasons for homelessness (lack of education/skill, lack of low income housing, and lack of wages to meet the needs of an affordable standard of life.) Notice lack is the common word in those three. I told them most of the homeless want a job, but for the biggest obstacle, no photo id and no address, it is almost impossible to work. Then I explained my past few weeks with the homeless in Williamsburg and our hopes/goals. Here again, their looks were priceless. When I came off of the stage, again I was surrounded with students asking questions and thanking for the truth they did not know. We talked of God and our responsibility to the poor and needy by His command. A couple signed up for the "True Homeless Night Under The Bridge" and what they could do as students to help. But, before I walked off the stage, I ended my speech as I will now to you...

"Be safe, be comfortable in your sleep and think about those things you take for granted daily that 750,000 people who are homeless each day don't have!" Goodnight and God Bless!


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