Everyone is Entitled to Their Own Opinion
This blog will not be easy for me to write. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nevertheless, it breaks my heart when people make assumptions about the face of hunger and homelessness. Why am I upset? Why am I writing this blog? It’s because of an email sent to me about a month ago.
Generally, emails I receive from people who hear about my work at Katie’s Krops are uplifting and encouraging. Every once in awhile, I receive an email that breaks a little piece of my heart. This was one of those emails. I thought long and hard about how, and if, I would respond. I decided that my response would be this blog. Will the person who wrote the email ever see this? I doubt it. That is okay. Will I ever post this blog? I am still not sure.
I will not share the whole email, for it is far too upsetting, but I will share a small part.
” I was just wondering if anyone is ever going to take the time to tell Katie, as well-meaning as she is with her efforts, that she is wasting her time feeding the “homeless.” Why not give the food grown to a much more worthy cause, like the elderly living on a very strict, fixed income who at least made an effort to make something of their lives or better, children of deadbeat parents who made bad choices instead of giving it to the people in society who made conscious choices of drugs, alcohol and chronic laziness to put themselves in the position they are in.”
First, I would like for people to understand the scope of who we help at Katie’s Krops. The majority of people we help with donations of healthy fresh produce from our gardens and through our dinners are not homeless. They are families, like so many who are struggling to put food on their tables because of the loss of a job, a medical condition or for a variety of other reasons. We provide healthy fresh food to hundreds of senior citizens, Veterans, and disabled individuals. Our gardens grow to assist single parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren. And yes, I and Katie’s Krops help homeless individuals and families. I am proud that we are able to support the homeless.
This is the story of one of the homeless families that Katie’s Krops has helped. This family is a face of homelessness. Two years ago on a stormy night, we met a family who had come to a Katie’s Krops Dinner. The family, who has two small boys and a baby girl, had driven half way across the country for a job and the promise of a better life. When they arrived, the job was gone. They knew no one here. They had no money. They had no support system. This family was living out of their car. As the thunder boomed around us and lightning shot from the sky, the mother of this family broke down in fear, in fear for her family, in fear for her children. They had nowhere to go. The only home they had was their car. It was heart breaking.
Even though both parents found work, they struggled on and off with homelessness for over a year. They lived in their car and in a small motel room on and off. They would come to our Katie’s Krops dinners, often just the dad with the kids while the mom worked the night shift at a local grocery store (when she returned from work, the dad would head out to deliver newspapers in the early hours of the morning). We helped them with food and our volunteers would assist them with clothing and shoes for the kids. On Christmas Eve, we paid for their hotel room to ensure that they had a roof over their head on Christmas morning.
Finally, after a year of being homeless, they had saved enough to secure an unfurnished house. I was so excited for them! After hearing the news, we helped them furnish the house by asking for donations of furniture on Facebook. Within three days, we had helped the family almost entirely furnish their new house. From beds to sheets, a kitchen table to dishes, our Facebook friends reached out to this family and made their house a home. It was a great feeling to know that the family had a safe place to stay. They are, they were, the face of homelessness.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My opinion is that there are so many wonderful people who are struggling in these challenging time. Many of these people find themselves homeless. It is my great privilege to get to know these families, to call them my friends. There is one thing I do know, no e-mail will ever stop me from helping even one of them.