There are now so many American Citizens living in pain and misery, and so many of them need help - it has become overwhelming for many of us. We hear and read about the dire situation of millions of individuals and families here in America - and it can become so overwhelming, it leaves us feeling that we have no effect, and that we can't help all of them.
While most of us here at the Kos are Humanitarian and want to help them, we become paralyzed by the enormity of the task. We don't want to just sit on the sofa and do nothing about it, but we also feel like anything we do attempt - is useless against the size of the problem.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you can help. I'm here to tell you that you do not have to personally take on the world, and be responsible for every single one of these suffering Americans.
More below the Fleur de Kos...
Every day, I drive my fossil fuel sucking SUV to a parking lot, where I then take a commuter train (we call these "Light Rail Trains" in Sacramento) to downtown to work.
Every day, I get off that train near where I work, and pass several homeless people sitting there dejectedly at 6:00 in the morning, before the sun has risen, holding their cardboard signs pleading for money, food, or work. The homeless don't get to 'sleep in', not even on the weekend. If they don't wake up and get out of the spot they have claimed overnight to sleep in - they get rousted and even abused by the police.
I used to be angry and disgusted with these individuals. And, there is good reason to feel that way when I see a young man, that looks reasonably healthy, wearing clean bluejeans with no holes in them, brand new Nikes (or whatever the latest most sought-after brand), a large gold chain around his neck, smoking brand-name cigarettes, and talking or texting on their cell phone - standing in an intersection holding a sign that says, "hungry, need help". Seeing this one person that doesn't really look like they are suffering - gives me a mental excuse to dismiss all of them. I refuse to hand money to any of them and dislike seeing others hand money to them.
But, more recently, the homeless and their cardboard signs - really do look like they are actually suffering, and miserable with their lot in life.
I saw a middle-aged man, sitting out there near the coffee shop, in the cold this morning. I watched many people walk past him in their nice clothes, holding their fresh hot cups of latte's or mochas, or whatever - not seeing him at all.
So, I walked into the coffee shop, filled a large cup of coffee and mixed in some vanilla creamer, put a lid on it and paid for it, and then walked out to this guy and handed him that nice hot cup of coffee. He seemed surprised by the action, and thanked me, and remarked that he hadn't eaten for a day and a half - and that the coffee was all he would eat today if he couldn't rustle up money or food from passerby.
We do have a place that feeds the homeless at least once a day, called, "Loaves and Fishes", where I volunteer occasionally to serve food. That one meal is wonderful, but that's the only one for the day. How would any of us do on a single plate of food each day? Or no food at all some days?
If you are like me, and feel overwhelmed and paralyzed in the face of the enormity of the suffering around us - you can help just one person, and you have done something. You can bring that extra jacket in the hall closet to help one person. You can bring a wool blanket to help that one person. You don't have to feed the world. If you can help just one individual, you have done something to help all of them.
If every one of us helped just one person that suffers in today's America, it would be a wonderful thing. So, please, reach out and do a good deed, however small that deed is. It really does count.