Monday, June 04, 2012

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.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

You are certainly right about one thing Allen. It has to start somewhere, and if you can help alleviate the situation where you live, that is the best place to start. Thanks for the eye-opener this morning.

Jack Riepe said...

The best help that anyone can give begins with a demand that elected officials step up to plate and do what has to be done — regardless of big business or special interests – to generate jobs in the private sector. In the final analysis, the best assistance for anyone is a job. And the assholes in Washington today, both Democrats and Republicans have failed the nation in making the economy a top priority.

When more people are working, it becomes a lot easier to solicit donations of all kinds for those now unable to work.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Unknown said...

My names corey Babcock I'm a 29 year old white male here in Washington dc I'm homeless and been homeless since February 22 of 2011 I came to DC September 2011 from Chicago before that Appleton wi now I can say this I'm not a smoker drinker or druggie funny thing is too that these other homeless guys constantly ask me for money and I know there boozers or crackheads plus the same person always asks me ahhhh ( pulls hair) lol but anyways I make good money here panhandling and I do look for work recently ive worked on a couple laptops for really cheap so I'm surviving well if you all wanna know more about me your welcome to call me 202 717 7072 that's my cell or email me