The Big Picture: Caring for the homeless, others

By: Annie Sragner, Assistant Arts and Life Editor

In recent weeks, the Ice Age-esque snowfalls in Towson have been nothing short of treacherous. It is easy to take the environment around us for granted, but this weather makes you take notice of the surroundings.  Recent snowstorms and plunging wind chills took their toll, but imagine having to endure this wintery life without the comforts of warm pajamas and indoor heat.

I recently attended a community meeting that rattled my perspective on my environment. The topic was homelessness in Baltimore. I found out that although several shelters in the area take in many of those in need, there are still thousands of individuals that face a frozen life on the streets.

I realized at this meeting how seldom I consider homelessness because it doesn’t directly affect my everyday life. I never thought about what I would do if I didn’t have a comfy bed to crawl into. Are the folks on the streets safe? Do they have any resources? I always assumed that the government simply collected everyone in need and took them to shelters.

But living on or near a college campus, it is easy to get stuck in the mundane details of your own personal, everyday circumstances. How many of us are living comfortable lives?  It’s an extremely fortunate circumstance.

Think about how differently your life would look if you were unsure about where you were sleeping, eating or bathing next.

Homelessness has many faces. Its spectrum stretches from sleeping on the street to couch-surfing among friends’ places. Homelessness especially affects children, who are less able to control and change their situations. I learned at the meeting that children make up about one-third of the shelter populations in the Baltimore area.

It is important to consider life from a communal mindset. We often succumb to an anthill mentality, leaving us to ignore the bustling lives or dreary days of those we pass along the way. Everyone has their own crosses to bear, some heavier than others, but we should live with empathy and consideration for others. What kind of world would this be if we didn’t help each other out every once in a while?  Life is about people.

We all share the same basic geographic area, and we are probably more allied than we realize. Be aware of the environment and take note of, or even help, individuals around you. By loving others, we keep our own love alive.  Remember, we’re all in this together.

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