First Night

It’s strange when a face is put on something you know is happening all the time.  This week the face belonged to Rachel.

We were at Pioneer Square doing our Tuesday thing – hot burritos and socks.  Because it was so cold and wet we were also serving hot chocolate and handing out gloves and hand warmers.  A fun night.

Rachel is a mid-teenager, pretty and looking very much like a suburban daughter.  Which she was.  Until last week.  Her side of the story is that dad kicked her out of the house.  I don’t know dad’s side, but we do know that Rachel has been able to stay on a friend’s couch for the last week.  “But maybe not tonight,” she said, “I’m not sure how much longer they’ll let me stay.”

I gotta tell you, Rachel is too young and too pretty for the streets.  I shudder, even now, thinking about it.

We gave Rachel some phone numbers for women’s shelters.  We tried to talk her out of sleeping on the street.  She had no gear at all – no blanket or sleeping bag, no tarp or pad.  She seemed resigned to her fate, though, and with numbers in hand wandered off into the night.

I pray she was able to stay on the couch again.  If not, I pray she found a shelter.  God watch over Rachel.  And the many other people, young and old, without a place to call home.