This past Sunday, my priest shared this story:
A woman was driving near Berkeley Medical Center last week while the snow was still heavily mounded. She saw a man walking down the street in a hospital gown and stopped to see if he needed any help. The man was trying to get downtown to his family, and this woman agreed to take him. He gave an address, and she drove him into town. His home turned out to be an abandoned house where they had been living. I don’t know what the ending of this story will be, but I do know the woman helped find this family a warm place to stay, some food and clothing.
Stories like this are so heartbreaking. I have a safe, warm, beautiful home in Martinsburg, and I love walking downtown to shop and eat. Some of our neighbors experience a different reality while living in Martinsburg. The good news is that there are people, like the woman in this story, who are helpers. I think of the cheer among the men who work at the Mission, the kindness of the intake workers at Bethany House and the Women’s Shelter, the huge success of Scarves in the Park, and the fullness of the Backpack Program collection boxes at various locations around town. We can’t deny that need exists here, but we can feel grateful to live in a town that is truly full of community helpers.