If you’ve felt unsure about how to respond to people who are asking for money at street corners and freeway ramps, the latest newsletter from Portland Rescue Mission has some guidance for you. The article tells the story of Shane, a man who worked in concrete for 35 years, became disabled, then began to collect cans for the deposits until his van broke down. He is now homeless, his only shelter a tent. A recent survey found that 26% of homeless men are veterans, 62% are disabled.
If we were to know the stories behind the faces we encounter on the street and at freeway ramps, some of those stories might be less appealing than this one, but isn’t that beside the point? Every one of those faces bears the image of Christ, who never looked away from suffering. The article in the newsletter gives six ways to help a homeless person, and one of those ways is to smile and say hello, because acknowledging the person gives them dignity. So, in addition to being prepared with practical help, we can give the gift of seeing and acknowledging that person’s God-given dignity and worth.
For more information on how to effectively respond to the needs of those who are asking for your help, go to PortlandRescueMission.org/CareKit.