family traditions & helping the less fortunate

9:50 AM

tg5 Over the past week my refrigerator has become a haven for excess goods brought to us by friends and neighbors, my pantry stocked up with cans and boxes of instant stuffing, and the car overstuffed with boxes and bags of clothing. No, we're not hoarders and this overstock is certainly not for our low-key Thanksgiving Day dinner. We have been putting in extra hours lately helping a friend and his church gather clothing for his homeless shelter and outreach program and preparing for a revisited tradition Terry and I used to do annually until we had Eamon: delivering hot meals to the homeless.

My family has seen well over its share of drama in the past fifteen years (if not more), including substance abuse, depression, health issues, and even one of my (half) siblings ending up on the street as a result of pretty much all three of those. Homelessness is a multi-layered issue that only gains national attention around the holidays or when the new buzz-feed for the day is a random act of kindness and some kid with a camera. When it hits you close to home it becomes not only an awkward situation to say the least, but something you realize you know nothing about. There are many reasons people are on the streets - and I'm not talking about gutterpunks looking for handouts to "travel." There are people with psychological issues and substance abuse problems who just need treatment; there are people who lost their home in foreclosures, fire, or disasters; people who lost their job; veterans; etc.... Regardless of the reason, relying on the government that put them there in the first place is not only a huge mistake (IMO) but something that would take a lifetime of red tape to cut through. Besides, unless it serves a political purpose, don't think (many) politicians care much. No, in our true grass-roots-type fashion, we set out ourselves to make a difference, as small as it may be.

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Over the course of three days, three turkeys, ten pounds of chicken leg quarters, about a dozen boxes of stuffing, a case of green beans, some sixty cupcakes, instant potatoes, and a few gallons of turkey stock were cooked in our tiny city kitchen, stuffed into containers, and delivered across the city Thanksgiving-eve to people who could use a hot meal and a kind heart and to our friend's shelter. Some good friends helped in providing food and clothing to be delivered and deliver some 40 hot meals on a very chilly evening.

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And if the poorly-taken selfies at the end of the night aren't a reflection of our elation meets exhaustion, the long hours of work paid off and helped bring a smile to the faces of quite a few men and a few women on the street who could use a hot meal and a friend to talk to, even for a few minutes.

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