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It's important to remember the homeless.

Keep the homeless in mind this time of year.

    This time of year gets really busy for many people.  With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the shopping that comes with it, it is easy to forget about the homeless.  Homelessness is becoming more prevelent in communities all across this nation.  Unfortunately, more and more children are part of this group.

    The next time you see a homeless person pan-handling for money, instead of giving that person money, donate it to Union Gospel Mission or the Rescue Mission in Tacoma.  And, if you feel the calling, donate time working at a homeless mission, it can be very rewarding.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Anderson November 18, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thanks for posting this important blog, Dexter. It is easy to forget how many people have been forced into homelessness. This is a huge problem for our veterans, and as you mention, so many families and children are now involved. People in Enumclaw often think it is only an issue in the big cities, but we have people in our midst living in their cars, sleeping in campgrounds or the woods, or otherwise remaining invisible. We have at least thirty homeless kids in Enumclaw schools. (More info in April's and Margaret's articles--http://enumclaw.patch.com/articles/number-of-homeless-students-grows-in-enumclaw). One concrete step a person can take to help right here in town is to support Plateau Outreach Ministries. They have a food bank that serves our homeless and provides many other kinds of assistance. Thanks to the generosity of local individuals and businesses, their new remodel on Cole Street will enable them to expand these services even more. Besides donating money and food to P.O.M., you can shop at their store, Pennies from Heaven. We buy almost all our clothes there, and many other things, too. The proceeds go directly to help those in need in our community, we save money, and reuse of goods is great for the environment. (You knew I would get something in about the environment, didn't you, Dexter? : ) Again, thanks for the blog.
dexterjibs November 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Excellent idea about P.O.M., I didn't even think about it. I didn't realize that there was that amount of homelessness amoungst our local kids. It is important that individuals and church organizations do more to help the homeless because we can't rely on government for everything (You knew I would get an anti-government rant in here, didn't you John?).
Doreen Anderson November 24, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Thanks again, Dexter, for bringing up the issue of homelessness. Last week in downtown Seattle we noticed folks arranging their plastic bags and packs on the sidewalk, getting ready to bed down for a cold night, with colder nights to come. The missions you mention do good work in trying to address these people's needs and can use our support. As John said, local food banks serve a large homeless population here on the plateau. Being aware of the circumstances and including items specific to the needs of the homeless along with our usual contributions can help these agencies with effective distribution. For example, many homeless folks have no access to refrigeration or heating. Some don't have a can opener, so canned meats, fish, prepared dishes, fruits and vegetables with pull-top lids are handy. Others can access a microwave, so can heat packaged meals, like macaroni/spaghetti dishes in heat-and-serve containers. Agencies can hand out ready-to-eat refrigerated snacks, puddings, yogurts, or cheese. Many of us are accustomed to the economy and environmental wisdom of buying larger quantities with less packaging, but to address immediate needs of a hungry person, some accommodations need to be made for providing quick and safe individual servings. A large jar of V-8 or applesauce is great for giving to a family, while a six-pack of smaller containers allows the agencies to offer single servings for immediate use or to fit into a backpack of a person on the street.
Doreen Anderson November 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
PS on food for the homeless (I ran out of room again!) Here's a list we keep as a reminder of food bank needs for serving the homeless --maybe others can add to it: granola bars / breakfast bars cans of almonds/other nuts dried fruit small cartons of milk, soy drinks, yogurt, fruit in gel snack packs/individual servings of applesauce, fruit, puddings, mac-cheese vegetable and fruit juices peanut butter/cheese with crackers packets of instant oatmeal, powdered milk canned meats ramen, cup of noodles fresh fruit, fresh vegetables (ready-to-eat) Besides food, think of the usual personal hygiene items needed, some in small sizes (laundry packets, small shampoo, etc). And with winter coming on, such things as handwarmers, blankest, stocking caps..... . Hey everybody, next week is Giving Tuesday http://givingtuesday.org/ --How about loading up our food banks with some of these items on that day?
Mary L. Ballard, MD November 25, 2012 at 06:08 AM
In one research study done in 2011, the risk factors for homelessness included; male sex, age between 20 and 49, mostly in the 30's, physical abuse, neglect or poverty as a child, parents who experienced drug, alcohol, domestic violence or mental health problems, and poor school experience. Donating money to Union Gospel Mission and donating food to a food bank are a good start, but only a start. Treating people with kindness and respect goes a long way to raising their self esteem, encouraging them to feel like they are part of a community and validating that they have worth and are a valuable member of society. Engaging in positive communicaion costs no monetary or food donations and can be practiced by adults and children alike. I find Dexterjibs' reference to "panhandling," demeaning and offensive, and his statements could have been presented in a more humane and understanding manner. It is never easy and can be humiliating for a person to ask for assistance. On November 7th, I, Dr. Mary Ballard, wrote a patch blog on climate change and health. On November 13th, dexterjibs wrote in the comments section what I consider a hostile and demeaning reply, mean spirited and meant to be intentionally hurtful. Dexterjibs will lecture all of us on how we should behave, yet shows no respect when a person has a differing opinion from him. You reap what you sow in this world. If one is disrespectful to others, then disrespect is what they will receive in return.
dexterjibs November 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I am pretty thick skinned, I can take it. If you think I am wrong please feel free to tell me in any shape or fashion that you feel fit. In regards to the pan-handling comment, I guess I said that because that is the common term for it. Doesn't mean I don't have empathy for people in that situation. Can you tell better a better phrase to describe that? I am open to suggestions. As far as my previous posts on your global warming columns, I truly believe that global warming is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on humankind and people like Al Gore get rich, government gets more power and people lose a little more freedom because of actions taken to "prevent" global warming. Sorry you were offended.
Mary L. Ballard, MD November 25, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Pan handling is considered a derogatory term. Educators try to use less demeaning words such as, "asking for assistance, or forced to beg for food and essentials." You also consciously choose not to address my point that kindness, respectful dialogue, getting one's self an education and using that knowledge to understand the circumstances of others is a positive preventive force to social isolation and disinfranchisement. These actions carry the potential to lessen our nation's homelessness, poverty, depression, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and mental health disorders to name a few, left unaddressed result in greater financial expense to a society in attempts to treat the problem after it has occurred. So here I have suggested using random acts of kindness, which cost no legal tender but only a smile, word of encouragement or act of volunteering and require no involvement of the government or restriction on any Americans freedom, yet you choose to spew angry and bullying statements to the masses. I personally do not see how suggesting to someone to use more energy efficient light bulbs or run their dishwasher on a full load causes people to, "lose a little more freedom because of actions taken to 'prevent' global warming." Your skin is not thick, it is transparent and the anger and frustration that lies beneath shows through. I encourage you to go back and read my response to your comments regarding my climate change blog post, then you will see real thick skin.
dexterjibs November 25, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Well, I have considered your argument and I think I will continue to use the term "pan-handling", but thank you for making a good argument. I have publicly apologized to you about the way I delivered my opinions on your blog. Obviously you choose not to accept my apology. So, I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas and may God Bless you. Now, lets keep the topic of this thread centered on the plight of the homeless.
Doreen Anderson November 25, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I really didn't see Dexter's posting as a lecture on how we should behave--just a reminder to think about those who are homeless and to contribute in some way to making things better for them, either giving funds or working directly with them (and such work would certainly involve kindness and respect). I also don't think Dexter intended any disrespect by the use of the word panhandle. It is commonly defined as "to approach and beg from a stranger on the street" and is in general use to describe that activity, usually without pejorative intent. We can work on language issues to better articulate and address social issues, but intent is an issue, and I saw the intended use here as descriptive rather than demeaning. Someone could as well think I was disrespectful by saying "the homeless" above, rather than each time saying "persons who are homeless", which is advocated as more clearly acknowledging individuals rather than labeling them as a group.. I would be very sorry to have anyone conclude from a simple blog response I did not respect each person in this situation. The National Coalition for the Homeless http://www.nationalhomeless.org/want_to_help/index.html#e writes about CAREing: C--Contribute (food, money, etc) A--Advocate R--Reach Out (volunteer) E--Educate We have here a small local blog on Patch, but I appreciate its intent for CAREing in our community, and I hope we are back to that focus.
John Anderson November 26, 2012 at 12:03 AM
What you said about panhandling got me thinking, Dexter. I haven't seen it in Enumclaw, where our homeless people are generally invisible. But an option when you are in Seattle is to buy a copy of Real Change, a newspaper about homeless people and issues. It is sold on the street by those most affected. They are given 10 free papers to set them up in business. After selling them for $1, they can buy another batch for $.35 each. Some of these entrepreneurs have been doing this for years, earning a little income and educating society at the same time. Here is the website: http://www.realchangenews.org/
dexterjibs November 26, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Thanks, John, I am looking at it now.
dexterjibs November 26, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Thanks, Doreen for your posts. You, John and mary have provided valuable information for all of us in regards to the homeless. If citizens of this country would do something on a personal level, we could do alot to alleviate homelessness.
dexterjibs November 26, 2012 at 05:47 AM
John, I reviewed the website and I had a concern about the phrases in their missions and values statements. The phrases are "economic justice" and "social justice". I emailed their editor to explain what they mean by those statements. At face value, to me, it means socialism and the government taking monmey from one group and giving it to another. This is contradictory to my belief that individuals and churches should be helping the homeless. But, i will wait for their response.
dexterjibs November 26, 2012 at 05:50 AM
John, what is ironic, is this organization uses the term "pan handling" in its website. How humorous is that to everyone except a certain doctor in Enumclaw?
Mary L. Ballard, MD November 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
You are an individual who bullies and berates others, and when you are challenged with intellect and integrity, you say it is time to move on. A typical bully. Practice what you preach and be kind and considerate towards others; women, men, homeless, poor, abused and mentally ill and do not make mean and vicious comments to people who bring forward a view different than your own. You brag about serving your country, try being polite to all of us other citizens of this country.

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