Jim lost his job a few months back and was living with his friends, bouncing from couch to couch. But recently his welcome ran out and he found himself living on the streets. Out of desperation he called 211 for information on health and social services. The operator he spoke with referred him to Love INC South Bay.
The harsh reality of being thrown out in the streets could be felt in his words and the sound of his voice when we talked to him. If you’ve never been homeless, it’s tough to describe that first night sleeping on the street. The fear and disillusionment are almost paralyzing. You just go through he motions to take care of yourself, but at the same time you’re beating yourself up for being in this situation. It is very surreal, because NO ONE ever thinks they will become homeless.
When Jim called us, what he desperately needed was something that everyone takes for granted, a pair of shoes! How do you lose your shoes, right? But we didn’t ask. We began to make phone calls to our partner churches and agencies, and immediately Heavenly Treasures Thrift Shop in Lomita called us back. They had three pairs of shoes in Jim’s size! In keeping with Jesus’ words in Matthew 5.40-42, we had to ask for socks as well.
We picked up the shoes and socks and delivered them to Jim. He was anxiously waiting for us right where he asked us to meet him. When we approached him and offered him the shoes, his expression of desperation gave way to gratefulness and relief. He had been walking in his one pair of dirty socks for blocks.
We greeted him with a smile, Hi Jim. We’re from Love INC SB and here are the shoes you asked for. See if they fit. By the way, did you have anything to eat today? He replied, Yes, someone got me some food earlier. And thank you for the shoes. I really appreciate it. I will go to church more often now. (He said this three times!) God bless you!