There but for the grace of God

Published 4:48 pm Monday, October 31, 2016

They are the marginalized. They are largely invisible, often because no one wants to look.

Homelessness exists everywhere, even in Beaufort County.

For many, it’s difficult to imagine how it is that someone can become homeless — what set of circumstances add up to having no place to call home.

But it’s easier than one thinks. One of the ways it’s easiest to fall between the cracks is a lack of a safety net.

Many don’t necessarily recognize how many people are willing to step in and help in times of need unless they’ve been in a situation where exactly that happened. A safety net comes in many forms: a grandparent willing to watch one’s children for free, because childcare can be expensive; a sibling willing to give a short-term loan to cover a medical bill because a mortgage payment is more pressing; the loan of car to go job seeking; a recommendation for that job; a spare bedroom to crash in for a few weeks; and the list goes on. These seem like very simple things. It’s very likely that more than one person reading that partial list has either offered up such to a friend or family member in need, or may have even been the one to accept the offer of help.

But what if one does not have friends or family in the position to offer such things, help tide things over until a person can get back on their feet? That’s also simple: many fall, and stay down.

There are plenty of stories out there of people who are homeless and they are people that one may not associate with homelessness at all.

The only difference between them and anyone reading this editorial is circumstance.

Keep that in mind, if the first instinct is to look away from the person walking the streets during the daytime, some with all their worldly belongings in hand, waiting for the homeless shelter to open at night.

The Zion Shelter could always use help in supporting Beaufort County’s homeless population.

For more information, call 252-975-1978 during shelter hours, from 9 a.m. to noon. Donations can also be sent to Zion Shelter and Kitchen, P.O. Box 2324, Washington, NC 27889. Donations of men’s toiletries are also needed: shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and deodorant.