My name is Pete. Pete Delkis. I live in Fort Worth, Texas, with my family (mom and dad, my younger sister Tori, and my little brother Isak). I am fifteen years old.
For the Christmas holiday season, our family is doing something radically different. Our church pastor challenged the congregation in doing something nice for someone else for the Christmas season ... you know, as it says in the Bible, "goodwill to men". We are carrying on that message to bring hope to people who are truly in need and it's made quite an impact on all who have taken on the challenge.
As an example, take our family. We, the Delkises, are helping out at a homeless shelter, passing out blankets, toothbrushes/dental floss, small packets of Kleenex, and gently-used clothing to the people who are sheltering there during the colder months out of the year. We have met many people, both young and old, black, white, Hispanic, Native American Indian, Asian, disabled and able-bodied. We have made many friends.
Some of the people we have come to meet include Vet-Man, Rica and her little boy, Shyster Bob, Willy One-Arm, Tears (and she is only a kid, only thirteen years old), Amos, Doo-Dad, Salty, Shifty, The Garbage Man, Charlie-The-Crazy, and others. Some of them have truly sad, heartbreaking stories to tell.
Some ended up here through no fault of their own, but others, like Charlie-The-Crazy, Loco, Doo-Dad, and Shifty chose to become homeless and none of them have any intention of even trying to better themselves, so they can get off the street: they are happy playing the victim and having people feel sorry for them.
And then there are those who were once homeless but now have managed to better themselves by getting employment or a place to live (Bright Eyes, Annie Mae Pelham, and Medusa Jones are three prime examples). They sometimes come to the shelter to visit old friends and to let the current batch of bums know that they, too, can get off the street, if they just apply themselves or set goals that are attainable. Most are willing to try to leave the streets behind, but as I said, there are quite a few who don't even want to try.
It's those hard cases that break my heart the most. Nobody deserves to live on the streets, sponging off of people, especially if they are elderly or served in the military. I have noticed that ever since we started doing this, I have come across a lot of Veterans and it makes me want to cry.
I have learned that a lot of homeless people are just like you and me. They have dreams and ambitions and they could be your next door neighbor. You just may never know. (Doo-Dad was a neighbor of ours, but he got involved in drugs and this was how he ended up on the streets of downtown Fort Worth. He is very nice, but his life is too messed up and now he is paying the consequences. His real name is Paul, but his street name is "Doo-Dad".)
If I could do more to help people like "Doo-Dad", Shifty, Charlie-The-Crazy, or Tears, believe me, I would, but I am only one person. All I can do is keep them in my prayers at night and hope that one day they can get it together and work towards a place to call home or getting a reputable job so they don't have to sleep out in the cold or inclimate weather. And I can show them the love of Jesus in my actions, thoughts, and words. If I can just touch one life and bring them a sense of hope, then I have done my job.
Tonight when we go to the shetler, we will bring hot meals to them (chicken noodle soup that my mom made, coupled with dad's beef stew and vegetables) and sing Christmas music with them. Some of my friends from church are coming with us; it is going to be a regular Christmas-style love-fest!
Well, I gotta get ready and make sure that I am dressed warmly myself: tonight it is supposed to be in the lower thirties and rather breezy, which will make it seem even colder. Then after WE eat, we will do our good deed for the day and try to bring a little Christmas cheer to our new friends. Until later, this is Pete saying over and out! Take care and God bless!