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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-20-07 08:10 PM
Original message
My neighbors have nothing to eat.
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Edited on Sat Jan-20-07 08:11 PM by sfexpat2000
(thanks to bobbolink for getting me off my lazy @ss)

Saturday January 19, 2007

Today on my way to our neighborhood store, I noticed
my neighbor was sitting out on the sidewalk. Id
recently heard that his wife was diagnosed with
cancer. They are a 60ish, mixed race couple, both
seem to be involved with alcohol and our block has
gotten used to the sound of sirens as ambulances go to
their Section 8 apartment at least twice a month.

They are fragile looking people. Today, sitting on
the sideway, my neighbor looked dazed and he seemed
more sober than he might want to be.

I asked how things were going. He said, not too good.
I asked, have you guys eaten today. He said, no. We
ate on Thursday. Today is Saturday.

This is San Francisco. My neighbor is sitting a
block away from a busy tourist thoroughfare. Hes
probably not sixty but today he looks much older. I
buy them a bag of groceries I cant afford and get my
phone out.

First I called the San Francisco Chronicle. I used to
have a friend there that covered the poverty beat.
But today I talk to someone new. An editor who cant
understand why this couple cant take care of
themselves. But, have they asked for help? But,
couldnt the money they spent on alcohol feed them?
Im not understanding what you mean.

I finally tell her, come out and look at their faces
and decide for yourself. When you are that
overwhelmed, you cant move. You need a hand. Let me
give you my name and number in case you understand
later. I can wait although, I dont know if my
neighbors can.

She really didnt understand that there have been
maybe 25 professional people whove interacted with
this couple in that last few weeks who should have
known they would need help because they were having
trouble fending for themselves. Doctors, nurses,
intake administrators, EMTS, firemen, police,
landlords, neighbors. Who am I leaving out?

So much for human interest at my local paper.

Okay. So then, I called a string of city hall numbers
(none of them manned) and then a string of charities.

I hope someone calls me back. Its hard enough to be
poor or alcoholic or to be dealing with cancer.
Having all three happen at the same time would
overwhelm anyone. This is Saturday, so it will take
time for someone to call me back. I dont know if I
have enough in my account to feed us all until Monday

And I want to know that our people, here in the Paris
of the Pacific, have something more than my light
wallet that we can count on. I want to know, as I sit
here in this $400,ooo dollar condo, that there is a
logic to the way we apportion our resources, whether
were talking about empathy or taxes. I want to know
that my neighbors will eat this week and not go hungry
on our ever more genteel block. This is our
neighborhood and its ours to keep or to lose. Or
maybe, ours to fight for.

(Sent to OpEdNews AND to the San Francisco Chronicle)

"You've got a smile so bright, you know you could've been a
candle." Andy Stephenson 1963 - 2005
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