The courage to helpPosted by in Homelessness
This….is my friend Andy. Sitting here writing this feels surreal because at no time did I ever did I think this guy would be the key to ending our homelessness. Why? Because I would’ve never met Andy if it hadn’t been for Twitter and Mark Horvath and let’s keep it real….out of all the people I know and have met, how many do you think gave me feasible options out of homelessness? Exactly!
I asked Andy how he found Mark and Andy told me that he was on Twitter setting up a profile for an idea he had and decided to use a hashtag on the word “homeless” to see what he could find and Invisible People Tv and Mark’s name came up. Andy sent a message to Mark and to Andy’s surprise, Mark followed him back and told him that I was in Kent and made hats. Did I mention that Andy is the founder of Homeless Beanies?At first, I didn’t know what to make of Andy (just like Mark!) but Andy was more persistent than I thought. It wasn’t until later that he admitted he could tell I wasn’t sure about him but that didn’t stop him from following what I did or volunteering his time to take up clothing collections to bring to me. I have a sneaking suspicion that Andy was and probably still is following my tweets and Facebook posts more than I realize because time and time again, he has surprised me with random acts of kindness towards me and my girls, something that doesn’t always happen out here.
Back in May, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My mother can’t afford an in home caregiver and Medicare does not pay for one so I volunteered to do so knowing that this would only be a temporary arrangement. Once my mother could walk and take care of herself again, Maggie and I would return to where we were before; living out of our car. It wasn’t until about four weeks ago that I started getting texts from Andy asking where we were going to go once we left my mother’s. I simply told the truth by saying “Back to our car.” The next day, another text from Andy showed up on my phone inviting me and the girls over for dinner. I wasn’t sure we would be able to but Andy kept asking so I finally agreed. Towards the end of dinner, Andy announced he had an ulterior motive for asking us over. He didn’t want us going back to the car and wanted us to meet a female friend of his named Liz who owns a house that Andy rents the bottom half of. Liz came down and sat at the table with us and told me Andy spoke very highly of me (which has me wondering what exactly he told Liz!) and that she believed that people should be helping each other when times get rough and because of Andy’s recommendation, she wanted to know if I wouldn’t mind living there with them.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to say. Liz doesn’t know me and I’ve known Andy for about a year. Andy kept reassuring me it would be no problem for us to stay even though I kept expressing my doubts because I’m still struggling with finding a living wage without having to get suckered into the child care trap with Maggie. I kept rambling about my doubts until Andy looked at me and said “Carey, how long have we been working together? About a year, right? It’ll be okay! Take the time to get back on your feet. I don’t see any reason why this can’t work out.” I sat there staring at him like he was from another planet. In my mind, it must’ve taken a lot of courage for Andy and Liz to reach out with compassion the way they did. How many people would let a homeless family stay with them even after having gotten to know them after a year? I was used to the people whose compassion only lasted from 9 to 5 during the week, not people directly from the community offering help without expecting a lot in return. I told them both I needed to think about it since they live in another city about 30 minutes from where Maggie goes to school and that was my main concern. Maggie pretty much made both our minds up in less than 24 hours! Even my eldest was impressed with Andy and Liz but I suspect mostly Andy…;)
I contacted Andy and let him know we accepted the offer and I think at first he was surprised I would. He said “So you thought about it then?” I said “Apparently!” The next day we came over and Liz met us in the driveway to help us take our sleeping bags and duffle bags from the car. We didn’t have much to bring in anyway so it didn’t take long! Andy was inside rushing around putting bed frames together, moving things around in the kitchen and bathroom, painting stuff, putting up blinds and drapes….after awhile I told him to slow down!! He said he was just trying to make us feel comfortable! I said “Yeah but we just got here! We don’t need a lot and you don’t have to go that much out of your way.” How much you wanna bet he’s not done “decorating” yet?
We have been here a little over two weeks now and Maggie has adjusted fairly quickly. It’s me whose taking awhile to get used to the fact that we’re roommates with Andy! A guy I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t been for Twitter and Mark Horvath!