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Truth and Vulnerability

The women we serve all have a story; there is a beginning to every downward spiral before the climb back up. A few weeks ago, the Femi Care Project (FCP) volunteered to provide dinner at a women's homeless shelter.FCP believes the cornerstone of voluntarism is to get up close and personal with the people we serve.We also provided toiletries and underwear in which great appreciation was bestowed upon those who volunteered. It was also then that a heart wrenching story was shared.

I'm going to call our story teller Sharon.Sharon looked to be in her late 50's; however, she could have also been in her early 40's as living on the streets can take a toll not only on your mental state but also on your health and overall look. Her current appearance was gaunt and pale yet, you could tell she was desperately trying to hold on to a whisper of sophistication she once prided herself with.Sharon was one of the few ladies who knew her underwear size and examined the make and feel of the underwear.I noticed this almost immediately as many of the women professed to wear a size 5 when clearly a 9 was to be had. Sharon's demeanor was delicate and sweet with big eyes that told a sad dark story.

Sharon shared that she has been homeless for more than three years and had stopped counting because it simply depressed her.She once had a home, husband and a son."Once had" is the operative statement.Sharon's husband lost his job due to drug abuse, which lead to lose their home.She went on to say that her 22-year-old son's marijuana cigarette was laced with fentanyl, which caused an overdose and his untimely demise.Finally, less than a year ago Sharon was gang raped while staying in a homeless shelter and shortly thereafter she tried to commit suicide.

Today Sharon is still homeless and recounts her story without a tear.She stiffened but allowed me to hug and encourage her. I wanted to save and protect her from any further atrocities. Like many homeless people Sharon had begun to harden against the constraints of restrictive homeless programs or support. She called this true freedom even if it meant not having permanent home. After three years Sharon had learned to maneuver the homeless system but remains a slave to her own vulnerability and truth……………….

What is a Sister's Keeper?It's the ability to carry our sister's burden without being asked.

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