We are seeing it more and more. Outside our local stores, in our neighborhoods, along the streets of downtown – more and more of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness.
We recently invited our Home Team Monthly Giving Partners to a pre-screening of the film “The Same Kind of Different as Me” – a powerful movie about the relationship between a homeless man and the volunteers at a Rescue Mission. It was so inspiring to watch how the process of giving, I mean really giving, impacted the lives of the volunteers – sometimes even more so than the homeless people they helped.
In one of the scenes, a homeless man named Denver (played by Djimon Housou) asks Ron, a wealthy volunteer played by Greg Kinnear, “What do you think a homeless person thinks when you give them a plate of food?” Ron, not sure how to answer the question says, “I’m helping?” No, Denver says, “You are saying ‘You See Me’”.
And this is what we do every day at San Diego Rescue Mission. Our volunteers, case workers, staff – we SEE the people who are struggling on our streets. They are San Diegans with stories. Stories that have led them to lose their way, and many times their voice.
Just last week we honored the 116 men and women who died alone on the streets of San Diego. During this important event, we carry the shoes of the deceased, and we tell their stories – because they can no longer tell it.
Their stories are not always related to drug addiction, crime or alcohol abuse. In fact, many San Diegans are just a job loss, injury or eviction away from ending up on the streets. Homeless individuals are not all the same. They do not all have the same story. But they all need help turning their story around.
Every 3 months, we celebrate those clients who are changing their story through our special Graduation Ceremonies. Each graduation at the Mission represents the effort and important role every single person on this team plays to help a homeless individual turn their story around. Volunteers, Case Mangers, Donors, Board members, Staff everyone plays a role. My hope is get more people on this team, so we can help more San Diegans get off the streets and turn their story around. Let’s turn these graduation ceremonies into BIG events in San Diego!
Before I close, I’d like to share one more powerful line from the movie I mentioned earlier. It happens in one of the last scenes of the movie when Denver says, “We are all homeless. We are all just trying to get home.”
And this is so true. Whether you live in Ranch Santa Fe or on the streets of downtown, we are all trying to find our way to God. We are all trying to find our way home. We can all benefit from more love, compassion and connection.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them”. – Hebrew 6:10
So let’s do this together. Let’s find our way home together.
Lets work together to let San Diego’s lost, least and lonely know that “We See You”. We want to be a part of your story. And let’s commit to making our next Graduation Ceremony an even bigger success.