By Raymond Trower
It wasn’t so long ago I found myself in a financial jam through no fault of my own. I was living in a one-room apartment in the small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. I needed help paying one month of rent, thanks to changes in Medicare regulations, so I called on friends via the Homeless in SB blog.
There were a few who graciously answered my call and I received enough to cover my rent with a little extra for groceries. I had intended to pay them back when I could, and still do at some point. Truth be known, I have forgotten who sent what, especially after having moved from Henryetta to Tulsa and would appreciate reminders from those of you who helped me out with current contact info. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few months later, I turned to Facebook to ask for financial assistance–again. This time it was to help Tami (see “Nights With Raven”) come to Oklahoma. She found a ride with a friend who was going to on vacation. All we, Tami and I, had to do was come up with gas money for the trip from Morristown, Tennessee, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I now live. It would cost about $350 for gas. The sad part is, I actually lost three Facebook friends over this. Some of the things that were said about me and Tami were extremely hurtful, but such is life. Out of four hundred Facebook friends, I had one person answer my call and I will be forever grateful to her; plus I will give her a full accounting of her gift.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been searching for a way to help those in need. Yet it seems that I’m always the one who comes up short. I’m the one who needs something. But not anymore, thanks to my sister. A sister, I might add, whom I haven’t talked to in years; a sister I thought I would never have the chance to talk to again; a sister who showed me it was time to put certain things behind us and move forward. A sister to whom I will be eternally grateful. There is more to this story, but I will save it for another time.
Anyway, thanks to my sister, I am now in a position to help others, not by much, but when you have nothing, anything and everything can and does help. I have always had a penchant for helping women, and after witnessing what women living on the streets or facing homelessness go through each and every day while staying at Casa Esperanza homeless shelter, it is even stronger.
My search for a way to help has at times been . Who do I help and how? And I would hear things like ‘Don’t give money to the homeless, give it to the shelter or other organizations.’ Personally, I never really bought into this philosophy. I know there is a reason behind it, and it’s probably a sound one. But my money is limited, and I am impatient. I like to see results instantly instead of having my dollar trickle down to a few cents by the time it reaches those in need. I know… administration costs, salaries, overhead, utilities, etc. Still, I want my dollar to go directly to those who need it most.
The other day, on Facebook no less, someone posted a quote by Mother Teresa, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
Reading this quote was like turning on light. I began to think, and in thinking I began to remember all the people I have as friends on Facebook (as well as in other places) who actually practice this. Truthfully, I never realized just how many until I read this quote. I asked myself, “Why can’t I do this?” I could not think of a reason. Well, at least I couldn’t think of a good reason why.
I have helped people before, and in many different ways, but mostly for personal reasons and not just “because.”
Well my friends, Just Because became effective on October 25th, 2012, and I would like to see it continue. I have financially helped two people in the past few days for no other reason than because. They had a need, they posted their need, and I did what I could. It may not have been the amount they required, or wished for, but you’d be surprised how far a dollar will go when someone doesn’t have a single one.
I know that when I received the dollars sent from those who chose to help me, they became the most precious dollars ever. Also, dollars, even loose change, can add up quickly when more people get involved.
I am not sure if my mission will last, but I hope it will. I already have someone new on my wish list, my “Wish To Help List.” She is 28 and pregnant. She goes to technical school and is homeless, sleeping in her pick-up. She’s also in between jobs. I’m not quite sure how she caught my attention, but she did.
I recently came across the following quote. I ‘ve heard versions of this for years, and am a firm believer in it. I just wish I knew who said it. “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person”.
If you have any advice on how to further my endeavors, or would like to be a part of my new mission, feel free to contact me via this blog, or at the email address posted above.