I was sitting in front of my computer last night considering whether I wanted to write about the article I read in the Las Vegas Review Journal regarding the sixty homeless persons who died in that area during 2010. The newspaper published all of their names except for the most recent one that was still in the process of being identified.
As I read all fifty-nine names, I wondered, as in the game of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” how many people, relatives, acquaintances, former school buddies, co-workers, neighbors, etc. were connected to that list of people.
The article went on to give some demographics; 54 men and six women, ages ranged from 20 to 79. Drugs or alcohol were contributing factors in 26 of the deaths. There were two homicides and two suicides. Twelve were caused at least in part by exposure to the elements and six were veterans.
I decided to peruse Facebook for a moment, to see what was recently posted. The first thing I saw was a post from my niece, Malka, who is currently living in Washington, D.C., that said this, “Shterna and I went to Starbucks, bought 2 hot coffees, and gave them to homeless people near Dupont Circle. Seeing the way the men’s faces lit up was incredible and humbling. How many lives do we have the ability to change for the better every day? How many opportunities to we actually take?” WOW.
While this is typically the time of year, being “the holidays,” that more people tend to reach out to others, when taking into consideration all the things in their lives they are grateful for, it is so important that these acts of kindness not be limited to just the holidays. With that being said, it is still really special that a lot of people do reach out to ensure that those who have not or cannot provide for their families are considered and included in the holiday giving. This past week in my town, almost 800 children were given clothing and toys, the result of a massive fundraising effort. I was told the amount collected for the children was $49,000.00.
Just today I saw in the local paper, an appeal for people to come into the City Complex and take a tag off the Senior Angel Tree. This tree is part of a statewide initiative as part of a Senior Companion program, where local, homebound seniors without families were given tags to write down what they would like to receive as a gift this year. Usually by this time, all the tags are gone, but this year, half of them still remain. I sent the article out in an email to local acquaintances to give them a heads up on this opportunity. I will stop by tomorrow to pick one up.
In my lifetime, I have never met a more giving person than Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha, an amazing humanitarian and philanthropist. She often extols others to live as they want the world and the people in their life to be. And on the subject of generosity, she simply states that no one can outgive the Great Giver of All Life.