A small act of kindness is appreciated
"Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize is that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place." ~ Mike Yankoski, author of Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America.
For Throwback Thursday, I remember a trip to Vancouver BC a year ago, when I wandered around Chinatown only to arrive in a neighbourhood called Downtown Eastside. I had seen this area on the nightly news quite often.
Sirens blare every few minutes as ambulances and fire trucks rush to respond to another distressing overdose call. Small tents line the sidewalks where people sleep or shoot up, completely unaware of the few lost tourists like me.
The place is littered with needles, and trash, and blood. Paramedics rush from one crisis to another all within just a few blocks. Downtown Eastside is a nightmarish place and that is an understatement.
The charcoal sketch from January 2017 reminds me of many of the hopeless faces I saw on the sidewalk that day.
To read more see The Downtown Eastside is a war zone disaster - stop ghettoizing it.
"Out in the Cold" - (Charcoal in Strathmore Toned Tan Sketchbook.)
Mike Yankoski spent time as a homeless man on the streets of six different American cities. His book, Under the Overpass, describes his life eating from trash cans, panhandling, and sleeping under bridges.
The lessons he learned while intentionally becoming homeless changed his life.
Check his website where you can also access his blog.
Poverty is not always visible
Living in the suburbs, poverty is invisible. It exists of course but not in the same way as it is seen in the downtown core in North American cities.
Teachers know which children do not have money for the extra-curricular activities, the students who never have the supplies needed at the beginning of the year, those whose stomachs growl all day long.
But to really see those who are destitute, one has to go downtown, to the shelters, to the busy street corners or near the shopping malls.
Stuck in a desolate place
There are many people "stuck in a desolate place."
Some are fighting their own demons: alcohol, depression, loneliness, drugs...Others may be down on their luck.
Sometimes, a kind word is all that is needed. Maybe a cup of hot chocolate is a simple, kind gesture that will help that person through the day.
In the charcoal sketch "Out in the cold", I tried to show the lonely look of a man who has lived on the streets for some time.
All he needs is a small act of kindness.