Night At The Homeless Shelter

The script had been written.

Scheer family enters shelter. They host a bingo night, making connections with various individuals--some dirty, some struggling to stand straight, but all friendly and with twinkles in their eyes. Amy and Greg choke back tears as their children meet the homeless people, who speak profound words of wisdom. Cut to boys grown up, serving in nonprofits, making a difference in their communities.

And yet last night was a little less than inspiring.

The boys and I had shopped Wal-Mart for the best deals on toiletries, and we took these to the shelter to use as bingo prizes. The supervisor gave us the bingo supplies, handed us the microphone and said, "Just don't set this down, or we'll never see it again."

We ran bingo. A man in the corner hugged his knees and cried. Another man yelled at us to slow down. A woman tried to start a fight.

In the end, 27 people were given toothpaste, soap, lotions. Not much more to it than that.

The occasional joke shared, a fist bump or two as we left.

Is it enough? It didn't feel like enough.

Life is messy. Shelters are especially messy, and we need to thank those who work in them daily for doing what needs to be done.

We also need to be content to know that when an effort is made, the effects will ripple out, sometimes unseen, or a long time after the chips have fallen.


  1. Things might have gone a little more smoothly if the Scheer family had shown up knowing how to play bingo...


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