Having Lunch with a Homeless Lady

On my way home yesterday I stopped by the local health food store, Edge of the Woods, in New Haven to buy a fresh vegetable juice and there was a lady panhandler outside asking for money.  When I asked her what she needed the money for she said she wanted it to walk over to Dunkin’ Donuts.  I said I’d buy her a healthy lunch inside if she wanted.  She protested that she didn’t like vegetables but eventually came to conclude that she would eat a salad from the salad bar.  She was thin and could use the fat from the two large ladels of thick ranch salad dressing that she poured on top.  It was wonderful to see her eating something she was still not 100% happy about but was hungry and I could see, grateful to be eating.

Having lunch:  I paid for my juice and her food and we sat down and talked.  I asked her about her life and she told me her story.  Her dad was a drug dealer and spent 15 years in prison for it and her mother overdosed on drugs.  She was 27 years old and was homeless for the past year after her aunt, whom she had been living with, died of diabetes.  She said she had been working at McDonald’s before that and was fired for not doing a task they wanted her unrightly to do at 8 months pregnant.  I believed her.  She didn’t seem the type to like conflict and left the job.  Her baby, not having a home had been taken into foster care.  The foster mother lets her see her daughter but I could see that the only hope in this mother was to maybe get her baby back.  She cried several times during her lunch and I tried my best to be an encouragement to her.

Goals:  I talked to her about goals but someone who does not have goals and probably set very little of them in their life, I am afraid she probably did not understand how to get where she wanted to be – to have a job, an apartment, and her baby back.  She said she applied for a couple of jobs but needs an address when applying.

How she copes:  She smokes marijuana to forget about the state of her life but complained that her life was still there like it is when the high wears off.  We talked about God, she said she is going to a church in Bridgeport every Sunday and they do what they can for her but she said she is more needy than what they can provide for her.  She said she is trying to believe and reads her bible everyday but says it is hard to believe because of the way her life has gone, but that she is trying.

As I was leaving I felt helpless to help this poor woman.  She said she had to get back outside to beg for money so she could afford to go to her “friend’s” where she pays $20/night to sleep somewhere warm and take a shower.  I bought her a protein drink, gave her a hug and one of my sweet health bars, and reminded her that she is a princess of the King (the bible refers to God as the king of kings).  I know someone who has a ministry for the lost and homeless called “U can’t do it alone ministries,” so I called him and asked him if he could check on her and offer her something.  He said there were no beds available at the time but that he would check on her; and now I just pray for her…

Months later

She is currently living among a few other people at the “U can’t do it alone ministries,” a Christian ministry running on a shoestring budget to help those who can’t help themselves.   I was so excited to find out she was being helped by such loving people.  I only know one of the people who volunteers with that ministry.  After years of being a substance abuse addict he was helped by this same organization run by other people who are living sacrificially with very little in life but an unusually large heart for those who have had a hard time making a good life for themselves.   I never stop praying for people like this and I encourage you to pray along with me.  God is powerful and hears the prayers for those in need.

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