Today I was reminded no matter how down and out you may get, holding on to your principles are a form of dignity. An elderly man stooped over from a severe case of osteoporosis pulling a train of suitcases down the sidewalk ( he must have been in his 80’s). I stopped him to see if he needed food or water , he was curious about what type of sandwich was I offering. I was rather surprise by that question after I looked at him closely..he was very thin. I said, “It is free” which he responded with ” No if it is meat, I don’t eat animals” I said ” it is bologna.” Walking away I had to smiled respectfully, this man perhaps hungry would not change his principle not to eat meat! Now over the months out there I have come across this twice before but they were young men much heartier than he. Though one of them settle with removing the meat to eat the bread with mayo and mustard only.
The beginning of the month many get a small stifling on their food card which is a big help to them. They have to be prudent about what they buy as there is no way to cook anything and cannot buy any prepared food. So I take ‘Carley Cart’ (what I named by rolling sandwich cart) and myself to the Mission District once again. I needed lunch bags so off I went into an unfamiliar area. They have choices of Dollar Stores where I can get a basket full as well small bags of peanuts , five for a dollar..time to stock up.
Finishing up in the dollar store I now could focus on the people on the street and there were many. The interesting fact about the people living on the street in the Mission , they have created a community of their own right on the street! A factor I never thought of ..language barrier.. you see most living in the Mission area are Latinos and I am not fluent in Spanish. Surprising though it wasn’t a major problem, visualization over rides the language problem. Such was the case with a young man who spoke little to no English and when I took out the bottle of water presenting it to him he said, “mine?” Then I gave him the food pack and he said, “for me ?” This man had tears in his red eyes, I suspect from alcohol or drugs. I came upon a group of a mixed group of men (Black and White Americans) with carts in a line. They do look out for the older ones in their group making sure they got food and water. Some didn’t notice I was leaving because they were looking at what was inside of the packs, others thanked me profusely. Of course I did not have enough for the many I saw after passing out the allotted eight per day.
I am still waiting for a response from our Mayor’s office, SF Food Bank, and The White House. I will continue my crusade for those Hungry on our streets. Our country or state should not have as many people exiting with little or no food, we have monies available for non life survival programs. Like it or not they are part of our citizenry and the government should create free food stations better than food lines in the ’30s. No matter what we hear we ARE a rich nation and it needs to show it by caring for its people!
Again many thanks to Roxie and Patrick, for your loving support.
NEXT INSTALLATION: Coming Soon