A LoGOFF Story from Lisa

So what do you do when you see someone who's homeless? Part of NYCUP's We LoGOFF Movement is Feed 500. What if thousands of people, instead of walking past those people in need, chose to live Local (the first principle of LoGOFF) and introduce that person in need to the love of God. Here's a story with a bit of a miracle. Here's a story from Lisa

"This story ends in the happiest way possible, with a homeless man able to sleep under a roof for the night and work in the morning. But the journey there is long, and I know I am not the same person I was this morning.

            Tim, Kristina, Peter and I were walking away from Union Square having just visited Whole Foods when we spotted a man with his head down, sitting alone on a small bag, his back to the wall. We approached him, noticing a sign that said “Homeless Veteran out of work. Will work cheap now. I’m a plumber please help just need a start any donation. Please it’s so hard with nothing old clothes old boots for work. Please help.” We offered him food and water, but he declined, so we sat and he told us his story in bits and pieces. Joseph was a soldier in Kuwait, injured in a truck while helping another soldier during an rpg ambush between two buildings. A bullet passed right between two discs in his back. The doctors told him he should be dead or paralyzed from the waist down. Instead, he has an artificial hip, and his right leg is shorter by 1.5 inches.  He was given two awards for bravery beyond the call of duty.

            Joseph went on to tell us that he was a plumber, and was trying to raise money to buy steel-toed boots in order to work. Unfortunately, the only Salvation Army with the boots was in Brooklyn. At this point, my heart beat faster, seeing a tangible need that we could possibly fulfill, but I didn’t want to enable him to buy cigarettes (which he told us he needed). We explained that we could not give him money, just resources, then went down the street to buy him coffee while we discussed what to do, and how feasible buying boots would be, since we didn’t have time to go to Brooklyn and back. At this point, Peter took this on as a mission, and asked a passerby where to get boots. The response was “6th Avenue, 18th Street.”

            When we returned with the coffee, Joseph told us to go to Burlington down the road. We tried not to promise him anything, but agreed to try. Burlington and DSW told Peter to try Danny Zs, but neither they nor Journey’s carried steel-toed boots. At that point we stood at the corner at a crisis. Tim, Kristina and I wanted to give up, go back and tell Joseph that we tried. Peter was itching to try the intersection of 6th and 18th, and tell Joseph to wait 30 more minutes. Trying to be calm, we attempted to explain to him how we were running out of time and how it might not be wise to walk over there without being sure. Peter was driven to find these boots and pay with his own money, and I worried how he might take the potential disappointment, or that he might drag us all over the city. I struggled to find the balance between serving and saving, and I was not optimistic.

            We finally decided to go back and at least say goodbye to Joseph. Tim led a prayer for him and his situation, and after we finished and continued talking, a young Asian man walked up, said “I just found this on the ground and don’t know what to do with it,” and dropped a $50 bill into Joseph’s hat. Amazed, we just stared at each other, and told Joseph to wait while we tried one more place. On the way, Kristina spotted a Famous Footwear, and we walked in. I asked the woman for “Men’s steel-toed boots, size 12,” fully expecting more disappointment, but she simply said “Sure. All the way at the back on the left.” Peter sprinted ahead of us to the back, drawing the wary attention of a staff member, who seemed confused when no one actually tried the shoes on! Peter bought the shoes, and we walked back to Joseph, who was so grateful. I could tell that people had made promises before, and he wasn’t expecting us to come back. It was amazing that over the course of two hours, he now had $50 to spend on a hostel room and a hot shower, and a pair of boots that enabled him to go to work in the morning and earn some money!"

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