Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Helping the homeless

McMumsy and PolackPappy had talked about possibly taking in foster kids once we were grown and while they haven't done this, they are giving back in other ways. They both volunteer at a local homeless shelter; McMumsy had her first stint of the season (it's open only in the coldest months) Saturday night. Like when she comes home from her first days teaching reading to troubled kids each September, she was full of stories.

Like the one about the 20-year-old guy who'd been written up in the paper, because he'd been thrown in a river for stealing someone's shoes, and nearly drowned. McMumsy was doing his intake as he sat in front of her, glaring at her, and flicking his lighter on and off and on and off and on and off, ad infinitum. One of the other volunteers asked McMumsy if she'd been scared; she said no, but that she knew he was trying to provoke her. It's how the kids she teaches sometimes act, so she's used to it.

When I asked her if she felt sad about this guy's life, or that of any of the other people at the shelter, she said no. She finds them fascinating. There are times when she doesn't know who's a volunteer and who's a guest. I guess it's a good lesson in not judging a book by its cover.


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