I was traveling along a road the other day on the outskirts of Manchester and, I had to slow down because of construction. To avoid a traffic delay, I turned off onto a less-used parallel road. I drove about a quarter mile when I saw a homeless man sitting near a wooded area about 30 feet off the road. It was a familiar face, one that I’d often seen before but, not for a long time.
I stopped my car and walked over to him. He was cold, shivering and wet. He was smoking a cigarette and he had a beer in his hand. I asked him if he needed help. He said, “no!” I asked him if he remembered me and he said, “yes” and, he spoke my name.
His right eye was closed shut, blackened by who knows what, probably a fist. I learned a long time ago not to ask. When you ask too many questions, trust becomes an issue. They are often afraid to say anything.
He had no shelter, no tent, only a 10 by 12 tarp that he slept under, laying on a piece of cardboard. I asked him if he wanted a tent. He said, “No, I can’t have one. Every place I go and put up a tent, the cops either tell me to remove it or, someone sees it and when I have to go somewhere and come back everything I have is gone.”
I first met this man in March of 2019. He was stronger then and had more life in him, more spirit. Now, he looked frail and weak which makes me doubt that he will survive the cold months ahead. I gave him a set of thermal underwear and, before leaving I told him that I’d be looking out for him and, that we would pray for him and help him however we could. He said, “Thank you!’
There are many people out there just like this man: Homeless and lost to the scourge of addiction. As we move into the holiday season, I hope that you will remember them, the most vulnerable and less fortunate among us and do whatever you can to help them. Blessings...
Merle Burke, President & Founder