“I’ll never forget my first night. All of a sudden and without warning, I found myself homeless in Koreatown near downtown Los Angeles. I was sober, but I had no money, no place to go and no one I could call for help. I was officially homeless.” So shares Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv in an article this week for the Huffington Post.
No one expects to be homeless, but many are. Whether due to addictions, mental health issues, lack of money, home foreclosure, or simply some hard times, homelessness happens to many who least expect it. As people of faith, we are called to do what we can to make a difference.
I’ve not had the experience of living on the streets, but I did have the opportunity last summer to volunteer Friday mornings in a place that serves breakfast to the homeless and poor of my community. Over time, I began to build connections with the early morning crowd, making small talk and encouraging however I could.
While the experience was only for the summer weeks, the mark it is left has been lasting. Now when I see the homeless on the streets of my community, I wave, say “hi,” and even personally know some of those I pass. When I have something to give, I give it.
Not long ago, I was in a conversation and mentioned something about “one of my homeless friends.” I caught myself, realizing that until then homelessness had only been an idea; now it had become real people with real hurts. I had looked into their eyes, granted dignity, and built trust. As I have the opportunity, I do what I can to help, to give, and to advocate on behalf of my homeless friends.
Why? Because that’s what friends do.
Share your story of helping those in the comments below or via email at dillon at dillonburroughs dot org.
DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending Christianity, Not in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.