I thought I could not make a difference, that the problems the homeless face were too big for me to handle, but then I went out on the Outreach Program and realised that one small gesture can turn the life of a homeless around… Just like watching our volunteers make a difference inspires me, I hope that sharing this heartfelt story with you will also inspire you and show you that it is the smallest things that make the biggest differences.
As per usual we walked the streets of San Jose in search of people to help and by the end of the night we found a spot where there were many homeless from all ages preparing to sleep. The spot was not the most lovely one, we were constantly reminded that they were not the only ones preparing to sleep there and that we were standing right underneath a tree full of birds… Inevitably, a lot of our volunteers got little souvenirs to bring home from the birds, but that did not stop them. At that spot, we put all of our stock down and quickly enough some volunteers were sitting down creating relations and listening to the stories of these amazing individuals. I believe that night all of the volunteers went home with stories to tell, but there was one that stood out:
Jose, a 70 year old man and a familiar face to Casa Milagro, was laying by the fences in that spot and did not move much. I particularly remember this man, as he had only been on the streets for four days (according to him) the first time I participated on the Outreach Program. And since then, as I become more confident and outgoing with the program, I also notice his deterioration. Each week, he seems years older… The smile on his face is fading away… and most importantly, each week he needs more help…
Luckily, last Thursday he received what he was in desperate need of because of a volunteer that first, took the time to listen to him and believe him and then went out of his way with the help of other volunteers to find what this elderly man urgently needed. Jose told our volunteer that he had not been able to move for days because someone had stolen his crutches and he is paraplegic from the waist down. Of course, we did not have crutches with us at the time and promised him that we would try to find a loving soul that would donate a pair… Yet, something did not feel right, the volunteers were worried that they would not be able to find him again or about how he would go about his day without being able to move. Therefore, whilst most of the volunteers called it a night and headed back home, a few stayed behind and after some communication with other volunteers found one that had a pair at home and decided to go get them and bring them to Jose that same night!
And that night, Jose slept a little bit happier knowing that the next day he would be able to move!