I was talking to Jerry and getting ready to leave the park when a car pulled up with two young men. The one waved and I returned the wave, he then gets out and lets me know his name. I thought he looks familiar, but was not sure, then it hit me. I remember meeting him the first time when he was about fourteen. He had come to Boise to live with his mom, who was homeless and one of our regulars in the park. His mom is a frequent meth user and even though she tried to be a good mother, there where times this young man was left to fend for himself. I remember a time when she was high and I found him sicker than a dog laying in the back alley or he would be out wandering the city on his own. He always talked about doing something with his life and doing better. He would come to the park to hang out, not always wanting something to eat, but just needing a place to belong and knowing someone cared. After a few years he got himself into a program downtown that taught culinary skills and graduated. After that he just left town and I would hear from time to time how he was doing. Then today he shows up in the park, no longer a little boy, but a grown man of twenty now. He spent a few days in jail to take care of something that happened before he left town but now he has a clean slate and is looking forward to making it back in Boise. He is trying to help keep his mom clean and wants to help those on the streets. He said he was out with his friend visiting with those on the streets and had to come to the park to tell me Hello……”Your family” he said and I had to come see you and see if you where still having the family picnic on Sunday’s”
Yes we have a family picnic. We don’t like to use the term feed, our friends say it sounds like cattle being called to eat. So on Sunday’s we have a family and friends picnic. A place where people can come, eat, talk, be listened too and most of all be loved on. And sometimes we get to have a family reunion when one of our family members come back to town or when one that is no longer on the streets comes to just say Hi. No matter where they are Housed, Homeless, In Town or have left Town….they will always be family and will always be welcome to the table.
Please keep the young man mentioned above is prayer. Prayer that he keeps on this upward path and prayers for his mom. He’s a good kid and proof that you can get off the streets and make it, if only someone believes in you and gives you a chance.