I will post some thoughts on the developments in the Flight 253 case later, but right now I want to share with you what I did Tuesday night. I had been called several days ago by Sharon Thomas-Hearns, the incredible PR person for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, if I would like to volunteer one night with their Rescue Wagon, which distributes clothes, blankets, food, toiletries, etc to Seattle’s homeless. I said yes and asked Ichabod Caine, formerly of KMPS, if he’d like to join me. He accepted immediately.
So, last night, two has-been celebrities went out with other volunteers to help the homeless. It was an incredible experience, one which taught me a lot about our homeless situation here in Seattle and reinforced my knowledge of the good that Union Gospel Mission does. Later today, I hope to post some video taken with my Flip ( I am slowly entering the 21st Century ) but I will try to relate verbally in this posting some of what I saw and learned.
We visited four sites over two-and-a-half hours before we simply ran out of everything. The van pulled up, we opened the doors and the homeless gathered for whatever we had to give them. Blankets went quickly, as did the ten or so jackets we had. Hot chocolate was popular, the sandwiches and bags of Cheetos went fast. Hand warmers and scarfs were in demand, and many asked for plastic bags, which we didn’t have, to carry their meager belongings. Almost all of them were polite and said thank you, they asked if they could take more than one sandwich or pair of socks ( they can ), nobody pushed into line or shoved others out of the way. The volunteers knew many by name and checked up on them, some victims of previous violence, some obviously longtime residents of the streets. It was a rewarding experience, one I will repeat.
Of the homeless on our streets, 90% are there because of drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. The treatment options are limited, and, to be honest, as long as we can’t force people who need them into them, it wouldn’t make much difference if we spent ten times as much as we do on treatment programs. So, it falls on us to help where and when we can. We, you and me, need to be the Good Samaritan, who helped the victim with his own money and time
My thanks to Dave and Steven and Sharon for including me, and for all the work they do, every day and every night. They are outstanding examples of faith in action, of what Christian charity and love really are. And, my special thanks to my good friend and brother Ichabod Caine who was there with us. God bless you brother, we have become good friends in a short amount of time, and I am proud to call you my friend and brother.
And, let me say to whoever reads this, Union Gospel Mission can use you. Check out their website at www.ugm.org, or call Sharon at 206-723-0767 to help. They are $600,000 short his year, due to reduced giving in this economy. Every dollar, every hour you can give will be spent effectively and properly. If you can help, please do. They are doing God’s work, the work He told us to do, and they need us to continue doing it. And, if you have some spare time in the next month or so, and want to spend some time on the streets with me, let me know.