“Just go out there, and hand them the socks. They’ll be happy to receive anything!” says Mr. Morris to me, at the KNO Delivery Event we coordinated in downtown Houston earlier this year, referring to the homeless people lined up outside the shelter. His words made me wonder –If a complete stranger handed me a pair of new, white socks, given the lavish lifestyle I am used to and the sense of pride that I have developed with it, I may just feel offended and say “I can buy my own socks, thank you very much,” or maybe, being very fussy, I would say something silly like “Thanks, but these socks are not pretty and pink and I wouldn’t wear them!!” However, as I reflected further, I realized that if I were experiencing homelessness, if I were in their shoes and given the same situation, I would probably have been as gracious and thankful as they were.
Having grown up with relatively luxurious lifestyles, we have a lot of “needs”, which many people who are experiencing homelessness can’t afford to have. Once someone’s lived on the streets for a couple of years, he/she’s not really living, he/she’s surviving. He/She doesn't have the choices and opportunities available to the more fortunate, to us, which we take so much for granted. You learn to take what you get.
While we can learn a lot from this minimalistic lifestyle, many aspects of it are pretty bleak. The ray of sunshine comes in when we know that we have the power to change the situation - Initially, by starting out small, by handing out a pair of socks to someone in need; but eventually, by helping them to stand on their own feet, and to develop their sense of pride and self-worth.
Support us. Encourage us. Join the movement.
P.S. - Here's a video recap of my time in Houston.