It’s just turned December and across the UK it’s turned chilly, in fact it’s freezing. My heating is on and the warm layers are coming out of storage.
So when it can be a shock to the system to spend half an hour outside, can you imagine spending the night without the comfort and protection of a home?
Can you imagine spending a night on the streets?
The reason that I’m writing this post, is that I was outside the other night in hat, scarf, gloves and my great big duvet of a coat at about 6pm. I saw a guy, sat on some cardboard with a thin sleeping bag wrapped around him.
I’ve often seen homeless people sat in the same position outside Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon sight.
It struck me; how cold I felt with all my layers and I was lucky enough to be walking home, to central heating, protection, clean clothes and the love of a supportive partner. That guy didn’t seem to have the same opportunity.
I suppose that we’ve all had that moment where we’ve walked past a homeless person, even when they are asking for help.
How many times have you thought, “I can’t afford it” or “if I look straight ahead they won’t notice me”?
I know I have. They do see you and I imagine that it makes them feel worthless.
I hate to say it but I’d be lying if I said that I’ve always helped when I’ve been asked for some spare change.
Thing is, how much effort or money does it really cost to spare a few pence? What difference would it really, honestly make to your accounts if you were to take notice of that human being and dig deep for once?
“Well they’d only buy booze or drugs with it anyway?” Ever had that thought to make yourself feel better?
Would you really blame them if they did get some special brew on the go to help with the pain of sleeping on a filthy, cold floor, vulnerable and alone?
Homelessness often isn’t a choice. Yes, sometimes drink and drugs have been the cause but maybe they have no home because they didn’t grow up with a loving family?
Ever thought that sleeping on the streets was their best bet to get away from violence? Even if it wasn’t, doesn’t everyone deserve to a roof over their heads and the opportunity at a second chance?
“So what do you suggest I do?
Why not splash out and get them a hot drink or some chips?
So you get a half pint at the next bar instead of a full pint. Save your liver. And hey while you’re at it a quick chat isn’t too difficult either. After all, just because someone’s homeless, they’re still a person who might like to be treated as such.
I don’t want to preach (I do have a tendency) and by all means, if you couldn’t afford it, I don’t mean to make you feel guilty. I understand that some of us live hand to mouth.
But if it wouldn’t leave you hungry, just think of how much effort and cost you would incur versus the amount of difference you could make to a homeless person’s day, let alone their life.
After all, we are approaching the season of good will and the feeling that you’ll get on extending a helping hand is pretty awesome.
In a time full of often meaningless communications, wouldn’t it be nice if we could really connect with someone on a human level, even if it’s just for five minutes?
Anyway aren’t you happy that you don’t go home to this?
Some don’t even have this much protection.
So whether you believe in it or not, I’m going to try to continue to shout someone a tea and some chips wherever I’m able because I’d like to think that someone would do that for me and mine.
Have a very warm and snuggly evening!