Did you know that Thanksgiving is next week?
No, really. It’s next week. That’s right. NEXT WEEK.
Doesn’t it feel early this year?
Somehow everything just feels so busy this year that I feel surprised that our 4-day weekend and our big feast is next week. Luckily we’ve adopted sort of a “tried and true” approach to Thanksgiving dinner around here and we usually just add one or two new sides to the whole fancy happy meal, so we’re all set in that department. The meal, people, is going to be so good.
The thing is, it’s Veterans Day today: A day when we are celebrating the work of all the men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure that we didn’t have to in order to enjoy our freedom.
Despite how strong your family veteran(s) may be, many veteran statistics are grim: Between 130,000-200,000 veterans are homeless in America on any given night. Approximately 40% of homeless men are veterans.
Statistically, there are a lot of things that you and I might have heard along the way about homelessness: It’s a “laziness” disease; it’s about addiction; it’s about choices. On a carpool one day, I listened to a child parrot their parents’ sentiments to all the kids in the car: “They shouldn’t be homeless, it’s their own fault they’re addicted to drugs! They need to get up off their tooshies and find a job.”
While we can all agree that finding work is an honorable goal, it’s not always that simple. Illness, injury, PTSD, and the requisite trappings of those disabilities make it nearly impossible to find–and keep–a job. Veterans need health care, assistance, and support. None of us will ever understand what they’ve been through unless we walk in their shoes and do it ourselves.
So. Soapbox aside, I wanted to tell you what we’re doing once a week from now until we can’t manage to pull it off anymore. We’re going to bring hot food in a hot food container to homeless folks in downtown Seattle. We’re so lucky in food right now, so we’re cooking up our extra eggs, cheese, beans, butter, salt ‘n pepper and tomatoes. We’re wrapping everything up in bread or tortillas, and Brian is going to deliver 10-20 meals a week to folks who need a hot meal in downtown Seattle–not just to give them some energy and a boosted spirit but to remind them that there is something good out there, and to keep believing in it.
We’re also gathering with other families to deliver wool socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and warm clothes and bedding to people in need.
I’m curious if you are doing something similar in your community? Through your church or school or work? I’d love to hear about it. This is an effort I think we can all support together: Pictures and ideas would be great to hear about.
You can hear the encore, right? Just imagine the world if we all gathered together and helped each other!
What bothers me the very most about this post right now is that we are all scrambling to figure out how to feed and clothe hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom served our country. Obviously there are the other ways we can help: Voting. Donating money. Volunteering our time. But my heart is heavy and troubled tonight. This isn’t the way things should be.