Last week, my brother and I volunteered with a few other members of our church, Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, to make, pack up and deliver about 30 lunches to homeless people around Pittsburgh. First thing's first, I am not writing this post to gain attention about "doing a good deed" or get a pat on the back through comments below. I'm writing this to make you aware of a common misconception that many people have about this overwhelmingly large part of our population.
We went to about five local spots where some people are known to be living, near various neighborhoods. Places that you probably wouldn't even think to look or if you were near, which if you frequent Pittsburgh, you've probably been near, and never noticed. I know that a lot of people often see homeless people out and about asking for money and only think that they want it for drugs or alcohol, which for some, is true. But some genuinely need your help. I think on Saturday, we saw both sides.
Either way, they are all people who needed a bottle of water and a sandwich, along with some other goodies, and a conversation. I don't really know what I'm trying to say. Besides maybe, give some of those people you see on the street something more than a smug look or abrupt "no" before leaving them in the dust. As a student, I got used to carrying around extra fruit and random snacks because I often don't have chance to run home for a meal, and quite a few times those snacks went to people on the street who asked for money for food. So there are easy little ways you can help. You can go to Hot Metal to volunteer, every Saturday at noon, walk in Tunch & Wolf's Walk for the Homeless, help out at a homeless shelter or you could purposefully carry around fruit. Above all, just know that they aren't all the kind of people you think they might be. Just like anyone else you might meet. The best you can do is just love them.