For people reading this blog entry that have not read my previous entries on the homeless, I encourage you to read Homeless Project Background. It will give you some background on my project. Briefly, I have made a commitment to give $20 each week to a homeless person and minimally ask their name and where they are from.
I finally have a short video of Ron from Ft. Worth. Ron From Ft. Worth Unfortunately my video recorder ran out of space a few minutes into the interview. Here are some of the comments that I got from Ron
I have asked Ron a few times, where he sleeps. He finally confided that homeless people never tell anyone were they sleep. They fear harassment, bodily harm and theft of their possessions.
I asked Ron how much he makes in donations every day. He says that in La Jolla he receives about $20 and he generally uses the money for tobacco and alcohol. I asked him about food. He says he does buy food if necessary, but generally he gets food donations or eats at churches or other homeless outreach organizations. I am going to have to rethink my opinion on giving money to the homeless. I will finish up this year’s $20 a week project, but I might start giving them food and other items they might need.
He had a sign today that was requesting blue jeans, a big backpack, a medium duffle bag, a windbreaker, sunglasses and a battery operated radio. If he got these items he would be able to enter a detox center for 15 days and get cleaned up. I asked why a radio and he said they don’t have radios so he wanted to sneak one in. I told him I would get him everything but the radio. Ten minutes later, I returned with all the things he wanted except the radio. I was amazed at how genuinely happy he seemed to get the duffle bag and backpack. He kept telling me how he would be able to pack away all his possessions and get rid of his shopping cart. (Note: In actuality, the backpack is now sitting in shopping cart and the duffle bag his hanging off the side.)
Earlier in the year, Ron used to sit on the wall by Vons, one of our local grocery stores. Now he sits on the curb by CVS, a local drug store. Jane, who I have blogged about before, used to sit on this curb. He says Jane is now in a board and care facility. I asked him if wanted to be in a board and care. He said yes, but I did not sense any conviction in his voice.
He is 56 years old. He was in the army from 1972 to 1975. He started his heavy drinking in the army and had some decent jobs afterwards. He has been an alcoholic and homeless for 20 plus years.
While talking with Ron, a well dressed lady came by with a bag of groceries. She knew Ron’s name. I guess she had seen him earlier in the week and was heartbroken by his appearance. In the grocery bag, she had a large sandwich, some water, a juice drink and a bag of peanuts. Ron was gracious in receiving the items and politely declined the peanuts since his teeth are so deteriorated that he can’t chew peanuts. She looked over to me and asked a few times if I wanted them. I pretty sure she thought I was homeless also.
When I asked Ron if I could make a video and post it on my website, he said sure, but wanted to shave first. I find it interesting that he was concerned about his appearance.
Hope you enjoy the video. Ron From Ft. Worth