For those who read this column, you might remember a story about a man in his late 30s or early 40s, who came to our office last winter on a cold afternoon after our office closed. Because of his chronic substance abuse, he was not a candidate to live in a homeless shelter and was sleeping in his truck.
Although our doors were locked, since I saw him try to enter the building, I let him in. It was then he related he was recently assaulted by another man and all of his belongings, including his sleeping bag, were thrown into Antelope Creek. He wanted to pray in our chapel and was looking for some clothes and a sleeping bag. After learning we were fresh out of sleeping bags, I came across a fresh batch of beautiful quilts made by some local ladies.
On seeing them, my first reaction was, ‘Don’t give him one of these! It will surely end up in the creek!’ Right after this thought, I had a message from God that said, in essence, ‘This is my son whom I created in My image and likeness! Give him one of these quilts to keep him warm tonight!’
I cannot tell you how overwhelmed he was to receive such a beautiful gift. He also went into our chapel, knelt down, buried his face in his hands, and thanked God for helping him. While we knelt down, I said, “Only God can help you give up the bottle!”
After giving him some Italian food, he left in peace. His tears of sorrow were transformed into tears of joy. Even though his only possessions in life were a quilt, a fancy piece of calzone, and a slice of pizza with some fruit juice, I distinctly remember him saying, “I will give this calzone to someone else under the bridge and I will eat the pizza.”
I was impressed that he would give the best of what little he had to someone else in worse shape.
Last week, while walking through our main lobby I saw him again, this time sober, showered, well-groomed, and with a big smile on his face. He informed me that he recently found a job, has an apartment, and is off the streets.
To help him in his transition out of homelessness, we have helped him with his first month’s rent to place him on a good trajectory. Glory be to God!
I am sure you know that in order to rent an apartment, one has to pay a security deposit and first month’s rent. Individuals and families we help out of homelessness usually are not in the position to cover these costs, or to furnish their new apartments. Therefore, because of the generosity of our supporters, we are able to help in these ways.
This is one of the many homeless persons we have assisted, not only from a social services standpoint but hopefully to get closer to God, Who by His grace helps us stamp out our vices as we grow in virtue.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our many donors who by their generosity make what we do possible. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!