Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement #4

By Donna Clark RN, Director

As the Holidays approach us and we recognize and worship our Savior, Jesus Christ I’d like you to think about the homeless and poor of our community. When Jesus was born there was no room in the inn and His birth took place in a stable. Not much different than some of the vacant buildings that homeless “live in” here in our community with no heat, no running water and full of hopelessness. The cycle of homelessness seems unending for the person huddled up in a blanket in a cold empty space.

As I have said before, this situation is fed by mental health issues, lack of education, growing up in a home in which there is no parental guidance and a society that has become focused on self instead of those around us. As Christians we are expected to love and care about others around us. 1 John 4:11 tells us “If God so loved us, we ought to love one another”. That’s a love for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for those who don’t yet know Him. That person looking so pitiful on the street corner needs love and help but just buying your way out by giving him money is not part of God’s plan.

This season, as you think about helping others, please DO NOT give money to those who panhandle! All you are doing is enabling them to continue in their cycle of poverty and hopelessness. Give them food, gift certificates for food, blankets or information about where to go to get help. Give your money to organizations that are known for their ability to manage money and serve those who most need it. This is not a plea for donations; it is a plea to help the needy through established programs here in our community.

Our story this month is about a gentleman who was living in New York State and working as a truck driver. He collapsed at work and was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack. After insertion of two stents and a few other measures, he was discharged. Having lost his job and apartment, his friends disappeared. So he came to Salisbury to live with his sister. He arrived in our office requesting assistance to purchase medications. The prescription was for two medications unknown to us so we researched them and found out that they could possibly cause vision damage if taken together for prolonged periods of time. Since he had not had an eye exam in several years, no baseline had been established for his eye status. Thanks to the local opthamologists, we are able to get clients seen in a timely fashion. He not only got his eyes examined, he was seen the next day by a Primary Care Provider who adjusted his medications.

Thanks to God that we are able to help those in need when they come in to see us. What I ask of you this season is to love those around you no matter how dirty, smelly or obnoxious they are. We are all God’s children.