Sunday, March 9, 2014

Making a living

Slice of Life Story Challenge
Slice 9 of 31

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the SOLSC this month

A Slice from a Slice

On March 5, I read a thought stirring piece about the plight of the homeless and the subway system at Raivenne's blog.  I really thought a lot about this as I have noticed more and more homeless as I drive through the city.  This linking and thinking caused me to want to write about how they might see the world from the city street corners, the highway exit ramps, or the median strips in the middle of the road...I did some searching and found out that there's a brochure from the city called, "A Better Way to Help".  Some of the facts I found interesting were:

  •  "Statistics show that most panhandlers are not homeless and most homeless do not panhandle. For some, panhandling is a career... and a lucrative one.”     source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community  Oriented Policing Services" 

  • "Donate your money to organizations dedicated to helping the homeless and others in need."
  •  "Volunteer your time to organizations and service agencies providing aid."

Making a Living

I started my day at the corner of Case and Market again.  I've got my bucket, my sign, my long johns, my scruffy down jacket and some vittles for later.  I can make a living at this.  And my day begins...

I hold my sign as cars drive by and sometimes I hit the jackpot.  I usually strike it lucky at this stop because people are on their way into the city for various reasons.  A lot of workers and commuters drive this route as they bring loved ones to and from the hospital.  

It's on the red light that I make most of my living.  Every two and half minutes.  Sometimes I see the same people every day.  I watch them through the windshield and notice their habits...

I see them lean over as if to grab a little something...sometimes it's just what I want, a light of a smoke, or some cash.  One woman I see does the same thing every time I watch her.  She makes the sign of the cross and it's as if she's praying.  She never makes eye-contact with me...  I just want her to know that I'm doing this because it's what I chose.  Thanks for the prayer.  Maybe someday it will make a difference and I'll choose differently...


  1. Oh Amy, I too read Ravienne's post and it has lingered in my mind...and now you story shines a new angle on the situation that exists everywhere. Your line....."I'm doing this because it's what I chose" is so important. We all make choices...every moment of every day.

  2. When I started volunteering at the soup kitchen once a month, I wondered why some of the people chose to come there to eat. They did not look homeless. I have come to understand that there are many different forms of "homelessness" many of which you cannot see outwardly. Thanks for writing about this important topic.

    1. Thanks for adding how you help expanding on how homelessness has many different forms!

  3. Jaana's comment adds much to your post, Amy - we live in terrible times for the poor, and there is such a lack of compassion and the will to do something about poverty. Sad.

    1. Yes, I agree it's a desperate situation. That's why I liked the brochure because it offers ways to help. Sometimes just handing over money at the street corner is not the answer.

  4. There are people at every corner of the city, Amy. It's such a heart-breaking dilemma. A former colleague works at a day shelter for women & I give my money to them, and more than one class at school donate time and find other ways to give to that organization too. You are right to bring it up, but there are ways to help other than handing over the dollar.

  5. Thank you for the truthful story for some. Homelessness is America is so sad because we are such a rich nation we should do better for those who have less. I work at a food pantry in my tow to help keep it orderly, it seems so inadequate at times.

  6. You write about something so important and your writing is really powerful.


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