Last week the column I wrote about the breakfast for the homeless (“Feed the Hungry, Heal the Heart,” Dec. 27) where I played Christmas carols and formed a choir has brought so many responses I felt compelled to write a follow-up about the results.
The day after the paper came out I had received 14 comments from all the political persuasions that we all know we have. But the message was the same positive reaction: one had tears in her eyes, another wanted to know how he could find out about the breakfast for next year and go himself, another was awestruck by it all.
The most heartwarming story and the most dynamic result came from two of the homeless themselves, who were on the beach where I was attending a party three days later. Neither of us ever expected to run into each other until the next Christmas breakfast but here we were.
One came running up, Independent in hand, and said, “There’s Carol now!” They had circled the three comments attributed to them and were so very proud of themselves, even though I had not used their names in print.
One of the comments was, “Most of us here are mentally ill.” They were not offended, but immediately launched a discussion about their inability to get mental health help.
What an interesting comment when I was mostly concerned that they would be offended by the comment and instead they were proud of it and wanted to talk about it intensely.
One of them has been evicted from the night shelter on a night it rained. When he woke up out on the driveway, he was covered with a sheet of ice. This was because he had told one of the volunteers off.
“You cannot do this,” I replied. “You must not tell people off! That’s how you stay inside, safe and warm. It’s up to you!”
So there are lessons to learn and lessons to be taught by all and the homeless in Laguna have a situation that is enviable by the rest of Orange County.
But if we who are capable and able can just light one candle for those who are not, we
will not be cursing the darkness but bringing light to all who will absorb it.
Let’s do it!
Carol Reynolds, Laguna Beach