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Kindness is not a crime

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A couple of years ago, I took part in a community outreach program held by The Legacy Initiative here in Salt Lake City, where we fed burritos to the homeless, while being dressed as superheroes. Our local Comic Con was giving away passes to some of the participants, and honestly, my focus was way more on the possibility of winning free passes, than helping the homeless.

I had no idea about the homeless situation within my city, and when I saw the thousand or so burritos we were handing out, I thought there was no way we would ever give out that many. I filled my messenger bag with burritos and fruit snacks, and began to walk the city center, dressed in spandex.

Within a couple of hours, all the burritos were gone, and I was a different person.

I stayed with The Legacy Initiative, learning more about the homeless situation, and making more burritos than I could count.

The thing that struck me most was finding out homeless people are just that…people. These weren’t the drug addicts or the lazy people I had been told about by my society and politicians, sure there were some of those people there, but they weren’t the majority. Not by a long shot. The people I was seeing on the streets weren’t all that different from me, and that frightens me.

While I’ve never been homeless, I’ve also never had an abundance of money. My savings account has never been anything to brag about, and if I find a forgotten twenty in my pants pockets, it can change my weekend plans. If I were ever to be diagnosed with Cancer, or have a major medical emergency, it would destroy me financially, and I would probably be living on the streets sooner rather than later. I know many other people are in similar situations.

These were the people I was handing out burritos too. Those who had visible chest ports from chemotherapy treatments, veterans with mental health issues, and children too young to work.   These weren’t bad people. None of them wanted to be in that situation. Many of them even had jobs, but still couldn’t make ends meet.

There’s been a growing trend here in America that I’ve been quiet about. In many states they are passing laws making it illegal to feed the homeless. People are being arrested, detained, tazed, beaten, and probably will soon be killed, all because they wanted to give a hungry person a sandwich. Our Legacy group has had a few run-ins with our local police and government telling us we can’t do what we do. Thankfully there hasn’t been violence…yet

I’ve been quiet about this because I’ve felt it was so stupid, it didn’t need addressing.

How can we as a nation call ourselves ‘good people’ when there are so many of us in need? Why do we keep putting those in charge who do not have our best interest at heart? How do politicians who think feeding the homeless is the same as feeding a stray cat, do so under the guise of morality? What is it going to take for there to be a tipping point? How long will it take until there is a tipping point?

If a person tells you that helping someone less fortunate than you is somehow bad…and you believe them, or worse follow them, you should probably lean into the strike zone and take one for the team because you are more a part of the problem then the homeless will ever be.

Or as Stephen Colbert said: “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

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1 comment

  1. Carla

    Darren, you are so kind and wise! I love your words and actions, and the ways you inspire me to live a better life! <3 Thank you. Namaste'

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