Another Trip to Washington

"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you." - Proverbs 25:21-22

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." - Matthew 25:35-36

My work sends me to Washington, DC once a year. While I find the city interesting and there are a great many sites to experience, I always find the trip depressing. Why depressing? Because every trip to our nation's capital is a harsh reminder for me of just how bad things are in this country.

Photo Courtesy Marcus Gurley - Washington, DC May 2012

Small parks that might be 20ft by 20ft are occupied by people trying to find a spot to sleep. National monuments have people sleeping in them. Every block on every street I walked was an encounter with another homeless person and all of their earthly belongings in black garbage bags.

Photo Courtesy Marcus Gurley - Washington, DC May 2012

Homeless are sleeping on the steps outside Starbucks and a DC cop is standing four feet away without any concern. Everywhere you turn, someone is asking for $6 to get into the local homeless shelter. It becomes overwhelming. One night walking back to the hotel from dinner, I encountered two people talking on the sidewalk. As I passed the guy, obviously drunk, began to holler at me. First with threatening remarks, then claiming I had dropped my wallet ( I had not). I ignored him and walked away.

All of this weighed heavy on my mind. I had to battle to not become depressed from it all. On one hand you want to do something to help them all. At the same time you question personal safety. Above all you feel helpless knowing whatever you do is just a drop in the ocean compared to the problem. It is our nation's capital. Our President and Congress have to see this everyday. Do they just turn their eyes another direction and hope it goes away?

I returned home at the end of the week tired and weary. These images continue to roll through my mind. I know I cannot change the world. I doubt I can change this nation or even the state where I live. But I believe I can make a difference in my backyard. Homelessness and hunger exist in every community in our nation. Some hide it better than others, but rest assured as you go to bed tonight someone in your community does not have enough to eat.

I came home motivated to continue to work diligently with the nonprofit we have started to eliminate hunger here in our county. It has to start somewhere. I have to do something.

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