I was sitting at the table in the Streicher House, a day-center shelter for the homeless people in Nevada County, California, and looked up as one of the homeless folks threw open the door and dashed in carrying this plant specimen. It was very long and pine cone in appearance, but odd at the same time. You could tell he was excited and pleased with his find. He whizzed by me asking for Pauli and it became instantly clear that he wanted to give this found item to Pauli as a gift.
She came from the kitchen and he held it out to her, like an offering, a special gift for a person he liked and wanted to please. It was as if he had gone to Tiffany's and found a diamond Cartier bracelet and could barely contain his excitement and joy when presenting it.
It was touching and sobering. It was a gift of finding and sharing a thing of nature and beauty. He couldn't go to a store and buy something, but he found something in nature, in the woods where he walks and lives, and he saw such beauty, it...
We aren’t the Statue of Liberty but our poem could be close. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Streicher House has certainly become the settling place for the masses of poor, tired, mentally ill, and addicted in our county. How we, as a community, didn’t see them before, I do not know.
They somehow were invisible in a productive, bustling county of busy people. Since we have discovered them and shared their stories with you, we can say it has brought out the best in people and we have been given support by the citizens beyond expectations.
Still, you and the volunteers at Streicher House can only do so much. We cannot come near to meeting the needs of these throwaway people and relief doesn’t look close.
What we have found is that the majority of lost souls,
living outside are mentally ill. It really isn’t the addicted,
the criminals, the lazy or poor. It is people who are not functioning mentally and lay right below the radar of anyone seeing t...