Homeless – Part 2
We wanted to follow up with where our previous post one homeless left off. Homelessness is an increasing problem to deal with as many know both for our city officials and the society as a whole. It seems to turmoil between our moral obligations to other humans, and our personal economic pursuits and leaves many of us confused on a solution. Despite what preconceived notions you might have about homeless people, there are ways you can have a positive impact on their lives. Here are a few additional ways people have contributed positively to the life of a homeless person to help inspire those that want to help.
As we discussed previously, Tempe Arizona has just put into affect a law that makes sitting on on the street illegal and punishable by law ($100 ticket). Like we pointed out many local Arizona residents are upset about this, and have protested the stringent law making. Unfortunately there have been little gains made by all of this, but it has shown local homeless people in Tempe that there are others who have their back, and believe they have rights too. One local Arizona company even went as far as to offer their services for free. Phoenix Limo Service, a limousine rental company here in Phoenix brought three of their vehicle to Tempe and offered free rides to local homeless people who needed rides elsewhere around the city. The service not only allowed these people to avoid paying fines by sitting on the sidewalk, but also offered them free transportation to job opportunities and more accommodating parts of town. The company has not received nearly enough praise for this, but you can personally thank them like we did by visiting their website www.phxlimoservice.com and sending them an email. I believe actions like we saw from Phoenix Limo Service should inspire other local businesses to offer their services to advance the position of someone else in need. If we see everyone as part of our own community then I believe these actions will seem normal and be seen more frequently.
Something else that has been going on in the homeless community that we thought was extremely awesome was something a non-profit is doing in San Francisco. They have renovated old transportation vehicles into mobile showers that they can park, and allow for local homeless to shower. San Francisco is one of the most affected areas by homelessness, and initiatives like this play a huge role on the ability for homeless people to transcend their current position and achieve better outcomes. Check out this video that shows the busses in action, hopefully we will see these pop up in cities throughout the country. These and other ideas that are geared towards helping others offset the harsh conditions of living on the streets, and assist people getting into a shelter of their own, are true inspiration.
Another interesting thing me and a friend have been wondering about lately is what happens with all the food on display in grocery stores. Obviously there is a ton of food on display everyday, and for anyone who is there late at night it is quite obvious that not all of it gets purchased. This urged me to begin asking store employees what happened with the food after the store closed at night, to my surprise they told me it all got thrown away. I could not believe this, and I continued asking local grocers here in Arizona and I continued to get a similar response. Fortunately I did learn that most Whole Foods stores do compost their food, which is way better than simply throwing it in the trash. However it seemed like there was a great opportunity for someone to remedy this extreme food waste, especially when thousands go hungry every night. I actually became disturbed after learning this and walking through grocery stores, I couldn’t help but think most of what I am looking at is going to be trashed after the end of the day, and it actually seemed insulting. Taking something bad, and trying to do something good with it, I set out to start a company that gathered the food at the end of the night and then brought it to local food banks, or donated it in some fashion. Upon doing my research I did learn that there a lot of laws preventing this here in Arizona, and was most of the reason these grocery stores were throwing it away in the first place. I buried the idea of the business after learning the struggles, but I have come to learn recently that others persevered harder than me and are attempting the very idea I set out to create. I have not been able to locate their website but I did speak to an employee here in Arizona that worked for a company that was doing this. I will develop on the story in later posts when I discover what sort of struggles and successes they have come across while doing this business.
I think these three examples are great motivational pieces for the rest of us to see how much of an impact we really can have on the homeless community. I think sometimes it seems overwhelming, or too difficult to help someone get out of their current situation, so we just give them cash, even though we question what they will do with it. It’s not an easy road to escape homelessness, but it is doable, and there are ways we can all play a role in helping people do so.