Strangers Among Us

I have never been more proud to be an Miami Countian than I was last Tuesday. A friend of mine from My Father’s House called and asked me to come along to Wal-mart to translate for her. She had received several calls about a Spanish speaking woman outside of Wal-mart holding a sign that said “will work for food.” According to the reports, she was pregnant and had a small child with her.

When we first got to Wal-mart, we expected to see her sitting out front like people do when they are giving away kittens. She was nowhere to be seen. We went inside and inquired about her. Wal-mart employees knew who we were asking about and had already done several things to try to help the woman. The customer service rep said she had called the Salvation Army about the woman, and Wal-mart had let her stay overnight in the parking lot. Another Wal-mart employed told us to look for her under a tree down by the road.

Once we knew where to look, the family was easy to see. They had put a blanket out under a tree by the opposite entrance from the one we had used. A not noticeably pregnant woman sat on the blanket with a three year old boy, a one year old girl, and a puppy while a man (presumably her husband) held a “we will work for food” sign near the road. The woman spoke Spanish better than she spoke English, but she was really Romanian. Her husband spoke a little English. He had recently lost his job, and was trying to get to New York where he had the promise of another job. They had a van, but no gas.

While we were talking, two men from the Journey church showed up and bought the family a tank full of gas. My friend from My Father’s House collaborated with the Salvation Army to get the family a free night in a hotel. And car after car stopped to hand over some cash or carefully chosen groceries. A construction worker who had stopped by to get his groceries after work dropped off a bag of sandwich stuff and commented “it ain’t much, but it’s something.” A former My Father’s House resident pulled up with another bag of food. Several moms stopped after picking their kids up from school and made sure to include diapers in their donations.

People clearly had seen the family on the way into the store and bought things on purpose to pass along on the way out. I am very proud that when we Miami Countians had a chance to look after strangers in our midst, we brought them food, shelter, and gas. We said by our actions, “we know you don’t belong here yet, but you could if you wanted to.” In the not too distant past, homeless strangers in Miami County were driven to the county line and dropped off with only our good wishes. But this week, we got a chance to become the generous, giving, inclusive community we all would like to live in.


Short URL: http://osawatominews.com/?p=1744

Posted by admin on Sep 3 2012. Filed under Beth Gulley, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply