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Sacks of Love for the homeless
by Jennifer Austin | Clipper Editor
Jan 20, 2012 | 711 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“We’re going to feed the homeless sack lunches on Sunday,” my friend told me last week. It was for a project called Sacks of Love that another friend of ours had started.

She wanted to make sure it was OK that she take my 11-year-old son with her since she was tending him while I worked on a freelance project out of town.

I didn’t realize at the moment that I told her yes just how much of a learning experience it would be.

When I returned from my trip Sunday evening to pick him up, my son told me it had gone well. Of course, it wasn’t until I had a chance to talk to her the next day that I found out how well, and discovered that it hadn’t started out well.

The idea of a homeless family with no shelter or food is often not discussed as it makes people sad or uncomfortable. In my home, it is brought up a couple times a year ever since my son went on a field trip to a homeless shelter. However, I had never actually taken any action to help.

I recently read that 39 percent of those who are homeless are children, and families are the fastest growing segment.

Locally, eight percent of students who attend Mountain High are reportedly homeless. Fifty percent are economically disadvantaged. (A dance fundraiser for Mountain High is being held on Jan. 27 at 490 S. 500 E. in Kaysville.)

What I learned from hearing about my son’s visit to the shelter was that I had not taught him not to believe the myths and stereotypes.

Not all homeless people refuse to get a job, not all are drunks or drug users, they are not all criminals, they are not all lazy and it’s not always their fault.

Kylyssa Shay, a former homeless person and now freelance writer, wrote that many of those who are homeless are mothers and children who lived in poverty and have nowhere to go.

Some are ill or disabled; some lost their job through corporate downsizing. Too many of them are children under the age of 18 who were kicked out of their homes.

Some attend school in Davis County with your children. They didn’t ask to be homeless.

Both my son and I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that I could do more and be a better example to my children. My son learned not to stereotype anyone because of his or her situation. He was even brokenhearted when they ran out of lunches.

He was humbled at the gratefulness and appreciation he saw when they gave out the lunches they had. I was grateful for a friend who took that opportunity to be a good role model.

Together, my friends buy the bread, fruit, granola bars and other lunch items, then place an inspirational message inside the sack with the food and deliver them.

Next time my friend say they are going to feed the homeless, they will have two extra pairs of hands.
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