"Sometimes crossing the street can save a life."
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle's fairest and most objective major daily newspaper) last week featured an article about an outreach program focused on people on the streets. It tells the story of Mary Williams (who also happens to be an active member of Community of Christ) and her on-the-street "ministry" (my word) of compassion and help to people weighed down by poverty, drugs, abuse or any of a host of other inner-city plagues.
The outreach starts simply with offering a drink of water. How tremendously appropriate.
I spent an afternoon with Mary Williams not too long ago, when she set up her table on the sidewalk brimming with brochures and helpline information, and a basket of cupcakes and bottled water. She is a sight to behold: unafraid to talk to anyone, to strike up a conversation, start building relationships, offering information without being the least bit pushy - in short, showing the passers by that she actually cares about them. She doesn't just see sickness or mental illness or depression or poverty or addiction. Williams manages to convey a healthy care in her work. That one afternoon was inspiring enough. The P-I article last week raised my estimation of her and her work even higher.
Read the article. It's enough to give me hope.