Every night, in the middle of the night, when I'm trying to fall back asleep after Ryan's 3am-ish feeding, I think about Tom.
Is he warm?
Is he hungry?
Tom is a man that we became acquainted with this past summer when he asked if he could do some work in our yard. He looks like he's in his 70's although I suspect he's much younger than that. When he first came by, our yard was pretty ghetto. We had put in our sprinklers after the construction and were getting ready to put in the sod when my water broke and our life turned upside down.
The weeds grew and the yard fell further into neglect as each day went by, but with me in the hospital on bedrest and then Ryan in the NICU, our ghetto yard was the last thing on our minds (well, except when we drove home and I saw with embarrassment how bad our yard looked).
Anyway, Tom asked for work, and Tony gladly gave it to him. He'd been out of work for awhile and was just trying to make ends meet. He was about to get evicted and was probably going to lose his car sometime soon. He was a good worker and we gave him all the work we could, plus a little more. When the lawn was in and every other job we could find for him was done, we thanked him, gave him some extra money and he walked away.
A few months later, he knocked on our door. I could hear Tony talking to him while I was nursing Ryan in the back of the house. Tom was homeless and he was pretty desperate. He was living in his van and had run out of food and money. He needed some money to pay his cell phone, buy his dog some food and some for himself. Tony, of course, helped. That was several months ago.
Since then we've tried very hard to help him get back on his feet. And I'm amazed at how hard it's been. Tom has a few jobs lined up, but no transportation. So Tony's been working on getting his van to pass inspection and it finally passed. Tom let his driver's license lapse, so now they're working on getting his license, insurance, etc.
We've tried finding apartments for Tom, but he doesn't have a credit card to fill out the on-line credit reports that people are requiring. And even though we tell the landlords that we'll guarantee payment until Tom gets back on his feet, they simply don't reply to emails or answer phone calls.
Tony is my hero. He took Tom shopping and bought him new snow boots and gear. He stops by at least once a week to make sure he's ok and to take care of whatever he needs. We got Tom a $10/month membership to a gym nearby so he can go there and shower. He tried homeless shelters, but he said between the rough crowd and the drugs, he thought it too dangerous. We've tried other agencies, but it appears most people help women, children and families, but there aren't many resources for single men.
So last night as I watched the snow falling around 3am, I thought again of Tom. We really hoped to have him warm and safe in a new home by Christmas. At this point, it doesn't look like that will happen. But maybe. Maybe we'll see a miracle. It is the season after all.