I’m calling this post part 1 because I’ve talked to a few people this past week who are homeless. This is one story. The story of James, the homeless veteran in Dallas, TX.
So it’s been a very busy week. I was going to post something last Sunday, but I needed to let a few thoughts marinate in my mind for a bit. Sometimes we act too impulsively and end up doing or saying the wrong thing.
Last week I started talking to a guy named James. He and I share a mutual friend. We started talking about the current state of homelessness, and eventually it came out that he was currently homeless. And then, I found out he’s a Veteran. What? No! Why is this happening in our country and why don’t most of the nonprofits organizations do what their supporters pay them for. I mean, if you look at what a lot of them REALLY do, they make a profit by enabling most of the homeless. For example, they put band aids on issues, (food/hygiene kits/housing 1st) and then they expect those who are struggling to figure it out on their own. The system is not easy to maneuver…don’t believe me? Try calling the “support” numbers. Enable and then abandon, seems like a pattern to me.
Well, Carry Me Productions doesn’t operate that way. We focus on EMPOWERING people so they learn how to empower themselves and each other. This is what we focused on doing for James.
To start, James lives close to Dallas, TX…roughly 1400 miles from me. The first thing I did was post on Facebook “hey anyone live close to dallas, tx. A homeless veteran needs our help!”. Then I sent a message to the Vet Hunters Project. They stepped up to the challenge. One of the soldiers reached out to a friend who lives in that area. She then went out of her way to get James some clothes, shoes, and hygiene items. Bless her heart! Within 4 hours, we worked together to find where James was located and gave him the items.
He was so grateful! The next day, I chatted with James online. I found out a bit more about him, and convinced him to try a youcaring page. I know it’s a long shot but we had to try. Then I asked James how he became homeless. His response, “I lost my job, and then I lost everything. I now sleep under a bridge at night, and only have a few things with me. “ He told me he had a friend he would visit for showers and food, but that he couldn’t find an apartment in his price range and that he had a misdemeanor on his record so people turned his application away for that reason.
My next step was to ask James if he was looking for work. He said he’s been trying, and that he was supposed to start a new job that week, but that the manager flaked on him. That is, he never returned James’ call; therefore, James didn’t know where to go for the job. I proceeded to ask him what he was doing now for money. He said, he goes to McDonalds to charge his phone, and tries to get change from the patrons so he can buy food.
This was breaking my heart…I asked him how I could help. He really didn’t know, and then he said he’d try anything at this point. So I said, “OK, let me set up the youcaring page, and let’s work on finding you a job.” After posting the page, I went to the job search sites I know well. I found him three jobs, and sent them to his phone. His only means to access the Internet is through his cell phone. He said he applied to two. Today I asked him how that was going, and he replied that he’s still waiting for their reply. I encouraged him to call the companies to make sure they received the resume because sometimes email doesn’t work as we expect.
I really wish I was closer to James so I could help him through the process of interviewing and updating his resume. Like I mentioned above, most nonprofits don’t really provide long-term solutions/help. We need to start working together to help one another, to lift each other up out of our despair. You know why, because we all deserve better. We all deserve a chance to be successful in our own right. Success is measured by how you achieve your goals. Success shouldn’t be measured by how much money one makes, but by our character and how we use our experiences to lift others up. Success to me isn’t just me helping someone find a job, but to help them find a job that they love.
We at Carry Me Productions will not resort to pity or shame or manipulation for your support. We believe integrity, empathy, and passion are needed to help people reach their full potential. We know that you can either help us or you cannot. Not everyone is able to give money at this time, and that’s okay. What we want is to hear your thoughts, to understand our readers, to be able to reach you the right way, with honesty and by setting a good example.
Do not let other nonprofits deceive you, showing you one thing but believing another. I have seen this happen a lot in the last year, since starting CMP. I have become somewhat cynical of other nonprofits because they contradict what they preach. They preach compassion, yet don’t understand the true definition. They preach outreach, but never leave their desk. They say they help their communities, yet take donations for themselves. It’s very sad and sometimes angers me, but I can’t do anything about it. I have to just let it go, and know that what we do is FOR those who stood up for our country, for those who were abandoned by their own families, and for those who feel no one is listening or cares.
We care! Do not give up hope, for we are LOVE and we will help you do great things. What we will not do is enable you. What we will not do is give you a band aid or sheet to cover things up. We want more for you, we know you deserve more, you deserve better.