Everything you see is not the whole story.
For the last 2 years I’ve helped to organize and staff a homeless resource fair much like this one. The focus is on bringing services to the homeless. Often times it’s difficult for them to get around to all of the different agencies that may be able to help. Sometimes it’s difficult because they lack transportation, other times it’s difficult because they struggle to be organized enough to get themselves to so many different places on specific days and times. So we try to bring as many services together as we can. We have things like bike repair, hair cuts, food, medical checks, dental exams, agencies who offer housing programs, organizations who offer support for mental health struggles and addiction and anyone else we can get to come with services the homeless can use. We’ve also been extremely blessed both years to have found very generous Veterinarians who have come to offer free care for the pets of the homeless.
We have limited space for some of the services and as it got late that first year we were worried some people might not be seen for some of the services. A few people got agitated when we couldn’t guarantee them what they had come for. Just as one such couple walked away from the check in table a giant man came storming over. He loomed over us and I could see that he had no front teeth and his other teeth were in bad shape. I was sure he was going to demand to see the dentist who was there with a program to help get partial dentures made for some of the homeless. He looked and smelled like he had slept in the bathroom of a biker bar. He was intent on something. He stood over me and shoved his hands forward and said “I need the vet!” In his enormous hands he was gently holding one of the tiniest puppies I have ever seen. He was frantic that the puppy be seen. I filled him in on how things worked and where to go for his turn with the vet and asked “Do you want to see the dentist? the doctor? do you want lunch?” Nope, all he wanted was to get his puppy to the vet. I almost cried right there it was so beautiful.
Call for submissions for The Good Men Project’s new SnapShots section
SnapShots are those rare moments when someone you do not know suddenly snaps into such clarity that they become vividly real to you. SnapShots change the way you look at other people and the world.
I want to read your SnapShots. Most of them will be between 100 and 300 words, but the uniqueness and power of the moment is the most important factor.
Email questions and submissions to [email protected]
—Photo Jamesy Pena/Flickr