‘Please. I have nowhere to quarantine. I just need something to eat.’ This man didn’t want a mask or hand sanitizer. He just wanted food.’: Woman urges ‘don’t forget about our homeless brothers and sisters’

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“Yesterday, I broke quarantine for the very first time to venture outside for a quick trip to the ATM. Even during a global pandemic, my landlord insisted upon cash for this month’s rent.

So, here I was, walking up the street to the ATM, when I caught a glimpse of a young man from the corner of my eye. He was lying on the ground, sobbing. It was obvious from first glance that this man did not have a home to go to. His clothes were tattered and soaked from a recent rain shower. All he had was a small shopping cart with a few wet bags.

I hate to admit it, but from living inside my little quarantine bubble in the safety of my two-floor home, I hadn’t yet thought about how this pandemic had affected the homeless. We hear so much about our health care heroes, grocery store workers, and police officers on the front lines (and rightfully so), but what about the everyday men and women struggling on the streets?

I felt a pit in my stomach as I heard his cries the closer I approached. ‘Please, all the restaurants are closed. I have nowhere to quarantine. I just need something to eat.’

This man didn’t want hand sanitizer. He didn’t want toilet paper, gloves, or even a mask. He just wanted something to eat. Food. Something we’ve all stocked up on ourselves. My heart broke for him.

Suddenly, I could feel the light lump in my jacket pocket. A granola bar from weeks prior that I’d kept handy for my kids when we were at the playground before all of the world turned to shambles. I immediately took it out of my pocket and handed it to him, a lump forming in my throat.

‘I’m sorry, this is all I’ve got,’ told him. I also handed him the 3 dollars and change I had left in my other pocket. The ATM was out of order, so I didn’t have anything else to give. I felt so useless. On the 15-minute drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. His hopeless eyes.

When I entered my home, I washed my hands and immediately gathered a ton of extra food and snacks lying around in the pantry. I hopped back in my car and drove over to the ATM to give more to this sweet young man who was in need of so much help. By then, he was gone. I looped around the neighboring streets, but he was nowhere to be found.

I don’t know where he is now, but I know I will remember him forever. Let us remember our struggling brothers and sisters. And please, if you need to break quarantine for any essential reasons (hospital visits, groceries, etc.), have some extra food and clothing on hand. Because no one deserves to fight alone.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melinda Garcia. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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