When Life Intervenes….
Food and family have taken quite a turn at Art of the Meal in the last 6 months. In case you missed it we (myself and my husband Dean) made national news in March when we reached out to a homeless man in our community. You can see all about our journey here on the Facebook page This is Victor.
However, what was sorely missing from all of the media stories was our community. I created the page to reach out to my friends, neighbors, business owners and clients to see if anyone could offer some advice on next steps in our effort to help Victor. And wow, did my community come through! The day I posted the page the Webster police department contacted me with advice and insight. The next day the fire chief of Webster (Patrick Shipp) I’m calling him out because the man is a hero in my book- reached out to me and told me that he has been looking out for Victor for YEARS, and whatever I needed he was in! He made countless phone calls to Harris county authorities, patiently explained all of the various options to me, followed up with Victor personally and to top it all off had his firefighters do a welfare check on Victor every night when he was in his hotel room. I cannot express enough how his example trickled down through every one of the firefighters. They were kind and caring, they befriended Victor and brought him treats, and most importantly showed him a genuine friendship that was so heartwarming.
In addition to our city officials the community that drove by Victor so many years jumped in to help with donations of money, clothing and books. Slow Twitch Niche bike shop donated a beautiful, blue custom bike, our local Verizon store donated a phone, Dr Robert Warwick, DDS has given Victor an incredible smile, donating hours of service to repair his teeth, Saint Bernadette’s Church provided glasses for Victor after Hopping Eye Associates gave him a thorough eye exam.
Another facet of the story that has not been highlighted are the many, many people who for years have looked after Victor on the street. Bringing him clothing, umbrellas, jackets, sleeping bags, pillows, hot breakfasts, lunches and dinners, not to mention ice cream, cocoa and friendship. He has told me many stories of the kindnesses that the people of Clear Lake have shown him. Our community truly became family to this man.
I have been touched and humbled by the hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls of people who did not stop, but prayed for him every time they drove by. This experience has changed Victors life, by nothing I have done alone, but by a community who has put arms around someone who needed it and showed genuine love, care and compassion.
Warmest thoughts for all of you,