I have the privilege of serving in the City of Wilmington alongside of some truly giving hearts who really care about the homeless and their future. We collectively are known as “The Way Ryders”, a Christian motorcycle ministry that is very active in Wilmington and the surrounding communities. For the third year in a row, we planned, requested for donations of clothing, shoes, etc., contacted “sister” organizations that are active resources for the homeless and impoverished.
It was a beautifully sunny day in August. My band arrived in Rodney Square hand-signaling for any available on-street parking around the square. The bus-stops were packed with people of all ages. The skyscrapers of big business stood like watchmen around the postage stamp of greenery that is known as Rodney Square. The hamburgers and hotdogs were on the grills. Herr’s Snack Foods had provided a generous donation of snacks. Cases and cases of water were on ice. Resource tables lined the south side of the square. The clothing tent was chock full of everything from baby clothes to adult coats. Multiple bands were scheduled to play throughout the day, providing a good groove and rocking the block.
Singing in Rodney Square is an exhilarating experience, I will say. The reverberation of pure sound was overwhelming to your senses. Crowds were drawn to the windows of the Hotel Dupont as they looked on in suspect interest. I watched and thrilled as people void of hope and destitute were all of the sudden dancing under the big blue sky enjoying themselves. Literally hundreds of hungry bellies were being satisfied. Friendships were formed. Mothers were finding bags and bags of clothing for their little children to wear for the new school year.
I took a step back after our set was over and started walking around the perimeter. It was then that I experienced the very best part of the day. I started shaking hands, putting my arm around shoulders and just talking. We talked about the weather, we talked about our backgrounds, our experiences, our families, what was wrong with the world and even what is right with the world. It was then that spirits became connected and a shift in the atmosphere seemed to occur. We talked about solutions, remedies…hope and determination. We talked about habits, good and bad. We talked about addictions, roots and how strong they are. We prayed and hugged and exchanged smiles and contact information.
What I know:
While I know that we don’t have a band-aid box big enough to solve all of these problems, I know that hope was born in several hearts. I know that key resource groups were connected with people who desperately needed help. I know that no one went “home” to that place where they sleep, that corner, that church, that shelter, that bridge… hungry.
I do know that homelessness is an epidemic that is ignored by most. Others turn away in distaste hoping it will just go away. There are at least 18 shelters in the City of Wilmington alone. They are FULL. Men, Women and children. I know that there are an increasing number of women who are homeless. I know that I can’t turn a deaf ear and there is something inside of me that says we must help. We must love. We must give.