Rick Hart: A personal decision

Published: 7/7/2021 4:30:14 PM The many readers who recently expressed their annoyance at the presence of panhandlers and other str...



Published: 7/7/2021 4:30:14 PM

The many readers who recently expressed their annoyance at the presence of panhandlers and other street people downtown are little aware of how difficult life is for people who have no home, in Northampton, the commonwealth and beyond. The pandemic has been a time of isolation and loneliness for everyone, but imagine what it must be like to have no roof over your head.

Thanks to MANNA Community Kitchen, meals are available to all who are hungry. Ask any MANNA volunteer about the people they meet and they will fill your ears with the difficulties with which the homeless have to cope.

Cathedral in the Night and the Friends of Hampshire County Homeless are also helping. These organizations, plus more like ServiceNet, Eliot Homeless Services, and others, are all providing services to help those in need.

It is important to understand that many people experiencing homelessness are not on the street asking for money; and likewise individuals asking for money aren’t always homeless. Either way, individuals using many of the services available still need some cash from time to time for necessities.

Whether to give money directly to someone is a personal decision, often made on a case-by-case basis. If you are not comfortable giving directly to individuals, consider making a contribution to the nonprofits mentioned above; or donate to the Resilience Hub, the city’s initiative to create a planned space where people can relax, leave their belongings in safety, take a shower and talk with others. Information about this is on the city of Northampton website (or google “Northampton resilience hub”).

Recently Gazette columnist Andrea Ayvazian suggested “kind” as the adjective that best describes Northampton. Let us be kind and care about those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Rick Hart

Board of Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals president



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