This I Believe

xerriel - knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on April 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Always Help The Homeless

All things considered, April 30,2007 I believe that people should always lend a helping hand to the homeless. Each day I see someone in need I always lend a helping hand even if it means giving someone my last 5 dollars or the shirt off my back. Most people misunderstand the homeless by thinking if someone is in need its their own fault.

Most of the time this is not the case.

My mother used to ride the Knoxville Transit Bus system to go back and forth to the University of Tennessee in 2003; this was because we could not afford a car at the time. Since she rode the bus everyday she became friends with one of the other regular riders, Greg Reid. Mr. Reid used the bus to go back and forth to his job everyday until one day the company shut down and fired all of their employees. After this incident Mr. Reid filed for unemployment, but he knew that this supplemental income would not be enough to pay his rent. Therefore he became homeless. Mr. Reid decided his only option would be to live at the Salvation Army until he could get back on his feet. This was easier said than done. The catch at the Salvation Army is you have to pay 50 dollars a week to live there, so it was hard to gather enough money to move into even a studio apartment downtown based on the unemployment he received. Mr. Reid tried numerous occasions to find work but since his address was at the Salvation Army no one would hire him. Greg stayed positive with support from our family. We invited him over for all of our special occasions to have dinner with us. Eventually after three months of looking for employment he found a part-time job. After a month or two he was able to afford a one-room apartment above the Volunteer Ministry. This ministry helped people with low income to get back on their feet. Mr. Reid went to his job every day for a year and a half even as his health began to decline. He was hardly able to walk yet everyday he got up and walked or rode a taxi to work. Unfortunately in October 2006, a year and a half after he moved into these apartments, Greg died of natural causes.

I believe everyone has the right to food, shelter, and health benefits especially the homeless. Most of the homeless are either disabled and cant work or loose their jobs and can not get back on their feet because Knoxville does not have a place for these people to go to get free assistance. I hope others share this hope of all people to be given a second chance on life. I feel it is my duty to help these in need, so I am becoming a social worker.

I plan to organize a non-profit organization for people like Greg Reid who was homeless but worked hard every day of his life until the end. Mr. Reid was 56 when he died, too young for social security and to old to live the hard ways of street life.

Next time you see someone in need think about my story and you could change a life.