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Old 01-29-2007, 06:12 PM   #11
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

I can't help other than to tell you a story of something wonderful that happened this week in relation to this topic.

I am a fifth grade teacher and all fifth grade students were just given an assignment to write about their favorite spare time activity so that we could assess their writing. We all met one day to score these writing pieces together, trade piles and score again, etc. So I was reading the papers of another teacher's students all about things like playing video games, hiking, watching TV, playing soccer, when I came upon one that was so touching it made me teary. This 10 year old girl wrote about how her favorite spare time activity is to volunteer at the soup kitchen. She wrote all kinds of details about how good it made her feel to help make a hot, healthy meal for people in need. She told of how a homeless man once played the harmonica for them while they cooked and about how the grateful faces on the people she served gave her a warm and wonderful feeling. (When I shared the story with the group, her teacher told us that her family does that every holiday!) I kept thinking about what a wonderful thing her parents did for her by giving her that experience.

What a caring person they are raising! We can all say we want that for our children, but they seem to have found the answer to how to do it. The questions now is- can I step up and do it for my son? Because you are right, how do we explain these awful "facts of life" to our children and at the same time stand by and do nothing to help?

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Old 01-29-2007, 10:28 PM   #12
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

When I lived in the city our church Youth Group made "Homeless Packets" for the congregation to distribute. I've thought several times I should suggest it here, or make my own. It's a gallon Ziploc bag with a bottle of water, washcloth, bar of soap, pair of socks, and a tuna fish lunch kit, with some other little things like combs or sunscreen thrown in. Basically it's everything you'd need to get by for a day or so.

I don't know why Americans are so scared of the homeless. I guess some of the panhandlers must have gotten aggressive and scary at times. But in London, when I was an exchange student, the homeless people I saw were really funny. One guy in the theater district always asked for "thousand-pound notes." Mostly they just wanted to be acknowledged, even if you couldn't or wouldn't give them anything.

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Old 01-29-2007, 10:38 PM   #13
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

We live in the wealthiest country in the world. Why in the hell do we have homeless people, let alone families and children?!?!?!
It baffles me to this day and you can call me ignorant but it sickens me.
There is no reason for anybody living here to be homeless (unless they choose to be) and if I saw a homeless family with children, I would take them in to my home or help them in some way.

I have to add....a few years back, while getting off the beltway here in DC, a homeless woman was asking for money. My friend dug out all the change she had and gave it to her. Every car behind me gave her something.

We need to be thankful for every thing we have because it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

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Old 01-29-2007, 11:36 PM   #14
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

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Originally Posted by mom2madolyn View Post
We live in the wealthiest country in the world. Why in the hell do we have homeless people, let alone families and children?!?!?!
It baffles me to this day and you can call me ignorant but it sickens me.
There is no reason for anybody living here to be homeless (unless they choose to be) and if I saw a homeless family with children, I would take them in to my home or help them in some way.

I have to add....a few years back, while getting off the beltway here in DC, a homeless woman was asking for money. My friend dug out all the change she had and gave it to her. Every car behind me gave her something.

We need to be thankful for every thing we have because it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.
I agree. Everyone should have a home. It doesn't have to be huge or fancy, but a safe warm home.
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:09 AM   #15
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

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Originally Posted by mom2madolyn View Post
We live in the wealthiest country in the world. Why in the hell do we have homeless people, let alone families and children?!?!?!
It baffles me to this day and you can call me ignorant but it sickens me.
There is no reason for anybody living here to be homeless (unless they choose to be) and if I saw a homeless family with children, I would take them in to my home or help them in some way.

I have to add....a few years back, while getting off the beltway here in DC, a homeless woman was asking for money. My friend dug out all the change she had and gave it to her. Every car behind me gave her something.

We need to be thankful for every thing we have because it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

You're right. But unfortunately, kidnapping cases like Elizabeth Smart scare people away from helping many of the homeless that really do need help. I unfortunately am one of those people that am afraid to bring my kids to homeless shelters or to hire them so they are working for $ instead of a handout.

I volunteer for the salvation army during the holidays to pass out food and donations; but I don't bring my kids with me. Instead, I tell my dd that there are some people who work and have families, but homes are so expensive that even though they work, they can't afford a place to live. So, we need to help them with small things like soap and shampoo. And that the kids need toys...So she digs through her toys that she wants to give away and she donates those at the homeless shelter.

Call me paranoid, but I would regret it for the rest of my life if I knew that something I was doing caused my children to get hurt.
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:53 PM   #16
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

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Originally Posted by momx2 View Post
You're right. But unfortunately, kidnapping cases like Elizabeth Smart scare people away from helping many of the homeless that really do need help. I unfortunately am one of those people that am afraid to bring my kids to homeless shelters or to hire them so they are working for $ instead of a handout.

I volunteer for the salvation army during the holidays to pass out food and donations; but I don't bring my kids with me. Instead, I tell my dd that there are some people who work and have families, but homes are so expensive that even though they work, they can't afford a place to live. So, we need to help them with small things like soap and shampoo. And that the kids need toys...So she digs through her toys that she wants to give away and she donates those at the homeless shelter.

Call me paranoid, but I would regret it for the rest of my life if I knew that something I was doing caused my children to get hurt.
I never really thought about like that.
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Old 01-30-2007, 03:55 PM   #17
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

[QUOTE=KV Boo;685882]On Friday i had my girls watch 20/20 with Diane Sawyer she was showing kids that are homeless or had no money and lived in poverty. By watching it they were able to see that not everybody has what they have.

I saw that, too. So sad how those kids were hopeful until age 10 or so, then they started being unable to articulate what their dreams were.

It is true that many of the people who are homeless are mentally ill or addicted to alcohol. Unfortunately, even if they were given an opportunity to get a hand up, they wouldn't make use of it for long. What those people need is a program like teen challenge or another one where they are helped with their addictions and presented with the truth of the gospel, too.

Our church used to have "guest week" where they would bring a busload of homeless people in from the city and they would stay in our church for a weekend, get showers, 3 meals and a day, and people would donate clothes, and kits of toiletries like the op described. It was a real eye-opener for everyone and many of the youth participated. I hope to be able to take my kids to volunteer in a place like a soup kitchen or shelter. It's important for kids to know how much they have to be thankful for, and how to be loving and compassionate to those who don't have as much.
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Old 02-03-2007, 01:42 PM   #18
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Re: A discussion about our children and the homeless...

Just saw a great segment on PBS. Very interesting approach:

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/305/index.html

You can actually watch the whole segment
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