"We're trying to show people that the stigma of the homeless is not what everybody thinks it is," said Steven Howard Thompson, the founder and vice president of Street Mercy, who also lives in one of the two homeless camps and goes by the street name "Uncle Buck. "Everybody thinks we're hopeless, drug addicts or alcoholics and don't deserve to be helped out," Thompson said. "We want to show unconditional love, and that everybody deserves a second change. All must be clean and sober. About 85 percent of them work."
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Bridget Mary's Response:
Several months ago, I met Steven Howard Thompson, "Uncle Buck" at McDonald's. He shared the mission of "Street Mercy" with me during our meal. I gave him my contact information.
Not long after our lunch, he sent a message that he needed a tent and supplies. Our Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community responded and two of our leaders met Uncle Buck at his homeless camp with tent and supplies in hand.
When I read the article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune today, I was happy to hear that the public is invited to a Christmas Party at two homeless camps on Christmas here.
Unconditional love, in which "wounded healers" who are "recovering homeless" mentor the "struggling homeless" offers both compassion and a reality check. Until you walk the walk, it is hard to talk the talk and really understand the issues and heartbreak involved in the lives of people who do not have a home. If we affirm the human dignity and blessedness of each person and offer a family/community support network, then we are moving forward spiritually as well as practically in creating a Sarasota where there is a home for everyone. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org