Since the Hoos and I first lived together in Virginia, I have made it my business to know the location of the nearest homeless shelter. Not because I wanted to make sure he had a place to go should it come to that, but because I prefer to pass my lightly used clothing, housewares and other items directly on to those that will use them instead of donating them to an organization that sells them (like Goodwill).
For zoning and NIMBY reasons, homeless shelters are not typically located in the best areas. In fact, here in Norwalk there is currently a zoning fight about allowing our local shelter to expand. However, I have driven to shelters in more than five cities over the past 10 years and I must say that the people that utilize them have always been very kind and appreciative. Whether I go alone or with one of my children, people are always willing to help me carry items out of my car and I always feel safe.
Going to these shelters reminds me that I need to be more appreciative of and thankful for all of the blessings and good fortunes in my life. With this recent financial crisis, a lot of news articles have talked about how people who never thought they would have to accept public assistance have had to reach out their hands for help.
So, the next time you clean out your closets or basement, consider doing some research and locating your local homeless shelter. Going the extra mile is worth the trip.
And, so it isn't too serious of a post, a little story about AK.
While typing this post, AK was eating her lunch. She ate all of her food and had just started sucking on her bottle when she fell asleep. When I went over to release her from the high chair and put her down for a nap, I must have shocked her awake, because she threw the bottle clear across the room. She has quite an arm!