Friendship on the Street
The Community is strongly committed to being a true friend to the homeless, giving them the respect and warmth that their dignity as human beings commands. Each member of the Community shares this solidarity toward those who live on the streets, also by simply offering them alms, a smile, a kind word.
Almsgiving is a very important act in Christian life. It is a gesture that shows empathy with the plight of the less fortunate; it creates a bond, though short and occasional, with the poor. Almsgiving is solidarity at its simplest.
Loneliness and isolation are a condition common to all the homeless. Sometimes they are so oppressive as to leave a human being in a void, without any contact with his or her family, completely cut off from the world in general. Stopping, exchanging some words may seem little in a life full of relations. Homeless, however, speak only to ask for help, and at times to no avail. Nobody calls them by name. Name recognition, on the other hand, attests to the importance of a person as a human being. Greeting someone is a humane and decent thing to do, introducing oneself, asking for a person's name. Breaking the prison of contempt in which these people are confined is as easy as that. Giving them the respect and recognition to which each and every human being is entitled to is as easy as that. This is the first thing we can do to alleviate the conditions of these unfortunate brethren of ours.
Anyone in a situation of hardship needs a helping hand. Life for people who live on the streets is a constant struggle against problems difficult to solve: surviving, establishing a contact, the intolerance of the surrounding world. Having someone to turn to for help, someone who can listen without presuming to know the answer is as rare as it is paramount.
It is not true that those who live like that have lost their desire to live a normal life. It is just that the sheer amount of problems to deal with and the lack of support cause the sort of despair that may be thought of as a rejection.
A loyal friendship and the careful search for solutions to the problems of each are the groundwork for a better future, even in situations that appear impossible to change at first.
A humane approach, constant dedication and patience, a sign of God's love for His little ones, are the starting point to significant relationships also with these people who at the beginning, because of long isolation periods, do not seem inclined to making a contact or accepting help.