Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Pennies

February 28th, 2010

He made sure he was in the shadows of the side alleys. They were very visible and very much approachable. His was a face of not wanting to make eye contact; their eyes looked to seek you out. Three different faces, all three homeless. Seeing him for the first time, I was struck by the way he seemed to want to remain from the public eye. You had to look to find him. I’ll remember this grown man and the way he would stack his thirty or forty pennies in neat piles, with a pyramid of ten or twelve silver colored coins closer to his reach. Handing him a few dollars, he would hurry off to get something to eat. A temporary fix to a long-term problem. They have been on the move since Katrina took their home. This is their tenth city in half as many years. They were barely able to make ends meet when they had a roof over their heads. Every possession they owned, gone in one night. “Thank God for the Peanut Butter and Jelly kids, or we wouldn’t eat tonight.” Once a week the college students in this town help by setting up an assembly line of sandwich makers. “The line gets longer every week” one of the students told me. 

Perhaps I have been blind to the fact of homelessness because of not personally witnessing it before I left on The Kindness Bus Tour. Homelessness is everywhere I have traveled. It seems to be growing as I make my way south. I hope this is due to the fact it is warmer in the south.  Today’s economy is, I’m sure, taking its toll in every sector of our country.  I see more and more of it and I plan on giving more attention to the plight of the homeless and I hope everyone else will too.

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