Moving back to Utah was not easy. We loved Lewiston, Idaho, and the people there, but we felt we needed to leave, so we boxed our lives up yet again. For the past several months, I have struggled here. In Lewiston, my life had clear purpose. I also felt a deep sense of community that has been hard for me to rekindle. This is not to say that there aren’t wonderful people in this valley. We have received tremendous support from family, friends, and even strangers here. For some reason, however, I have had a hard time embracing this as my home.
En route to work one day, my perspective changed. I saw a tattered man in a wheelchair straining to cross the street. I felt to jump out of my car, navigate the busy intersection, and help him along. But, regrettably, I didn’t. As the light turned green, and I drove away, a seemingly unrelated thought came to my mind: “Help the homeless.” Recently, I learned that the man in the wheelchair is one of many homeless individuals living in Provo. For several weeks, I have been driving up and down University Avenue finding people sleeping outside and placing them in hotels. The gratitude of these individuals has been inspiring. Unfortunately, this method is neither efficient nor sustainable. I am typically a private person, and I would prefer to act anonymously, but I also realize that I can’t do this alone.
In collaboration with the Food and Care Coalition, I have started this blog as a fundraising campaign. Given that Provo does not have an emergency shelter, the money will be used primarily to get people out of the cold by providing hotel vouchers and bus tickets to shelters in neighboring cities. Although this blog, The Weightier Matters, will be dedicated to a wide range of topics, from now until December 31, I will post a series of personal experiences intended to raise awareness about homelessness and hopefully enough funds to take individuals off the streets during the winter months.
I know that finances are tight during the holidays, but if you have the desire and means to donate, anything will help.
Over the past weeks, I have found renewed purpose in my life, and an unexpected sense of community among those without a residence. As the snow has begun to fall again, I feel an increased urgency to act in their behalf. Many will sleep on the cold streets of Provo tonight. This doesn’t have to happen. Not in this community. Not in the place I call home.
Click here to access the Food and Care Coalition donation page. Under “Donation Designation,” please select “Other: Category of Your Choice,” and then type “Emergency Shelter (Wiseman)” in the comment box. Even the smallest donations make a big difference! I also sincerely appreciate your help sharing this ongoing fundraising campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Thank you!