I have been working with very low-income and homeless families on a daily basis for the past 10 years. I have seen mothers with small children living in their cars, malnourished babies and frightened teen-agers standing with their families in soup lines at missions, sad and bewildered children of all ages accompanying their parents from agency to agency in search of assistance.
Nothing, however, depressed me as much as this young girl's Christmas list, received in my office this month: "I like me some clothes. I also would like a monopoly set . . . . And would also like a place to sleep, a warm place to sleep."
This sweet, 13-year-old girl was living with her mother, brothers and sisters in an abandoned apartment building--without water, heat, furniture or blankets. Santa Claus came early this year, because her wishes have been fulfilled. But my soul continues to weep because of the others . . . forgotten now as they will be forgotten and ignored the rest of the year.
TANYA TULL, Founder/Executive Director, Beyond Shelter, Los Angeles