If you feel your life is complete and that you don’t have any stress or difficult decisions to make regarding the homeless in Tracy, you might as well stop reading right here.
I am struggling with what is the right response to those who beg for work or food or money. The question is — when do I open my purse, and when do I walk away What it comes down to is this: It doesn’t matter if I give or walk away. I still feel pain and guilt when I see someone holding a sign. There’s got to be something I can do.
I have traveled to many places around the world, and hunger in any language is the same. But how do I know who is really homeless How do I know who is legitimately hungry
I am not sure I will ever know who is or isn’t, but I want to get past the doubt, the anger and the guilt, and the only way to get past these emotions is to have confidence that those who are in need have been served in our town. Unfortunately, I am not sure that will happen in my lifetime.
I give to the needy through agencies in my community and through international groups, but that doesn’t make it any easier when I see someone holding a sign on the street that says, at least to me, “Tracy, we have homeless people!”
When I moved here 22 years ago, I’m not sure anyone was homeless. Maybe they were so well hidden that I didn’t see them, or maybe I just didn’t look because I didn’t want to know. Certainly, the face of Tracy has changed during the past 20 years. The homeless are visible.
We have done some great things with the McHenry House Family Shelter, which helps homeless families and women with children. But one segment of the homeless is left out: homeless men. If a homeless man approaches the right people, he will get a bus ticket to Stockton to go to the single’s shelter. If not, he’s out of luck.
What can we do to help homeless men in Tracy get back on their feet to earn a living and have a roof over their heads that is safe Can we solve the problem of homelessness in Tracy
I’d love to hear from you about what you think about this — and if you have ideas about what we can do to help the homeless.
To contact the Rev. Alice DeLaurier-O’Neil, a retired Lutheran minister, e-mail email@example.com. All religious leaders in the Tracy community are invited to write columns for Reflections on Faith.