Monthly Archives: February 2015

Hey Buddy Can You Spare A Dime?

Giving money to panhandlers doesn’t help

stack of coins

Our community has many generous people. Many in our community readily give to those in need. Some of those in need panhandle for money at various shopping centers and intersections in our town. Many times these people use this money to buy alcohol or drugs. This contributes to their homeless. It does nothing to diminish their long-term dependence on hand-outs. The use of alcohol and drugs has resulted in the hospital admission of many homeless from our community, using valuable health care resources. It has even led to death of some of these men and women. Please consider the long-term effects before handing cash to a panhandler.

There are many caring organizations working with this population. We and other organizations in this community are seeking to aid the homeless into long-term solutions. Handing cash to panhandler extends the vicious cycle. It works to defeat long-term solutions. If you would like to help those needy members of our community please consider helping our organization or one of the other organizations listed below. We work with the homeless daily. We and other organizations collectively provide food, counsel, medical referrals, mental health referrals, prescription drug aid, emergency housing help and a range of other services needed by this population. All of this help is with the goal of reducing the number of homeless people. It does not increasing their number nor their plight.

Thank you for your consideration. We, as a community, must solve this important issue before us.

  • » Please don’t give cash to panhandlers. It makes matters worse.
  • » Consider carrying in your car sandwich-size baggies of granola bars, individually wrapped snack crackers and a juice box or water bottle to hand-out instead
  • » Hygiene products such as travel size toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, disposable razors, soap, shampoo and other items are also good to put into baggies for distribution. Most of these items are at your local dollar store for a minimal cost.
  • » If you wish to give money then please consider a donation to one of the following organizations working with the homeless.
    • What Would Jesus Do?, Inc.
    • Salvation Army of Auburn or Roseville
    • St Vincent de Paul, Roseville
    • The Gathering Inn
    • The Lazarus project
    • Homestart
    • Or, possibly your own church.

What exactly does WWJD? stand for?

Jerry Bablyon wrote this article. May he rest in peace and serve with the angels.

What exactly does WWJD? stand for? I’m not talking about the acronym itself which has been around for decades. If asked, almost everyone could tell you that it stands for “What Would Jesus Do?” The question I pose has to do with how that translates into action; into a way of life that determines and directs how we conduct our lives day by day with other people.

WWJD? in this area was born out of the vision of one woman who, like St. Augustine, saw Jesus in the face of a beggar and it transformed his life from one of self-centered indulgence to one of self-giving devotion to his Lord and savior. It has grown from serving the homeless and needy out of the back of a car, to what has now become a six-day-a-week outreach to the homeless in Placer County. Somewhere, Monday through Saturday, people are providing food, clothes, toiletries, sleeping bags, tarps, tents and other items that enable our homeless population to survive especially during the winter months.

But back to my original question; who are these people who take time out of their busy schedules to serve those who don’t even have the basic necessities that you and I take for granted? The answer may surprise you and hopefully will challenge you as well. They are people just like you. They are not saints with halos; they are not priests or ministers or rabbis; they don’t have a theological education; they are just ordinary people. The difference is that they have taken the vision we hear about every Saturday or Sunday from pulpits all over this nation and committed themselves to making it real on the streets where they live.

Weekly we hear that God loves the world and we rejoice that we are included in that number. He wants everyone to hear the message. We say a prayer or turn it over to the “master prayer,” the pastor or priest or saint whose prayers really seem to get through. We see people on the streets who look nothing like us and think how great it would be if someone would do something about poverty in this country, say a little prayer, if it isn’t too inconvenient we hand them what change we can get to quickly and say “God bless you,” and then be on our way.

At this point I’m sure some of you are saying, “This guy is trying to lay a guilt trip on me,” but that is the furthest thing on my mind. I am not talking about YOU in particular; I am talking about most of us in general. I’m talking about people who hear the word of God every week and wholeheartedly agree with it, but don’t have the time to get “involved” in actually doing it. Or maybe, like me, helping people on the street is not your “ministry” or “calling;” after all isn’t that what we pay our “professionals” to do? And that’s where WWJD? enters the picture.

WWJD? is just ordinary people who have decided that even one person can make a difference in the life of at least one other person, because love and service are not a “calling,” they are a choice; a choice to re-prioritize one’s life to give two hours a week to making a difference in the life of someone in need. Or they have decided that they can re-prioritize their giving to include WWJD? so that those who serve will have the resources to care for the needs of others. Just ordinary people who have heard the words of Jesus,

You saw me hungry and you fed me; you saw me naked and you clothed me; you saw me thirsty and you gave me water; you saw me sick and you ministered to me; you saw me in prison and you visited me; well done, enter into the joy of your Lord. And they will say, when did we ever see you hungry, naked, thirsty, sick or in prison and minister to you? And the Lord will say to them, ‘in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’

Jesus’ words tell us that one person can not only make a difference in this world but in the world to come. You are not only important, you are critical to advance God’s kingdom and in changing the nation we love. By volunteering to serve one day a week for two hours; by designating funds to give the food and necessities WWJD? distributes, YOU can make a difference. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when you stand with Jesus on judgment day, you looked into His face and all of a sudden it became the face of someone you had served every Wednesday in Roseville; or every Thursday in Auburn; or every Tuesday in Colfax; or every Friday in Foresthill.

To hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you are as welcome here as you made me feel when you served me breakfast, gave me clothes and shoes, provided me with enough food to help me get through the day. So the answer to my question is this: WWJD? is you and others like you, who choose to become “doer’s” of the Word not just “hearer’s!”

Homeless Emergency Shelter Approved in Auburn

The group “Right Hand Auburn, Inc.” has successfully petitioned the board of supervisors for Placer County to use the county-owned property in North Auburn called the DeWitt Center for the purposes of being a temporary housing facility for the homeless.

The DeWitt Center is located west of Hwy. 49, between Bell and Atwood Roads, in North Auburn. The Center houses many county facilities. Several other county offices and facilities are at the County Administrative Offices, “The Domes,” at 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn.

The motion was carried unanimously by the board of supervisors for a three month trial period. There are, of course, government “strings” attached to the action, such as oversight. But, that is the nature of government. And in many respects it is a good thing to have given the human nature. Life is not always easy for the homeless and sometimes the inter-personal relationships between people are strained.

Still, it is a great step in the right direction. It is something that the board can agree upon. The county and Right Hand Auburn need to work out the final list of conditions. Their goal is to have an agreement that balances the need of the homeless with the needs of the other residents who are worried about the potential impacts.

Do the small things

“Do the small things and do them with love”
— Mother Teresa

The issue of the homeless and impoverished is too large for any one government agency, organization, or person to solve. There are just too many people that live not pay check to pay check, but day to day.

We can not solve the issue of poverty and homelessness. We can not do it alone. We need all of the help that we can get.

This does not mean that we need to spend the next ten years studying the problem to see how to start. We need to roll up our sleeves and help where we can. The people in need can’t wait ten years. They need help today; not tomorrow.

We need the help of other agencies. Agencies such as St. Vincent de Paul, Home Start, the Lazarus Project or the Gathering Inn all help with the homeless. They are all needed. We are all needed. The solution will take all of the agencies, each doing what little part that they can with love to solve the issue.

We can only do our small part; our small thing. We do it with love, not only in what we are doing but the people that we serve as well. They have become friends of the people serving them. We know them as Jackie, Michael, Nick, Tino, Donny, Kasandra, and Jeff. Last names are not important. There are Rick and Clyde and many others that we have come to know. We ask about them when they don’t show up. We smile and say “Hello” when we see them. We listen to their day to day troubles, stories, and hopes. And we talk sports with Scotty. He loves football.

Of course we smile at Elvis, the dog, and offer him a biscuit.

They are a joy in our lives. We try to be a help in theirs, if it is only a small thing.