Thanks to Allison O'Leary for her compassionate letter about the homeless in our community. My friend from Fairbanks used to come to Anchorage regularly. She would stop in to see me and then leave to go get something to eat. She always offered to bring me something and I agreed. She never made it to my work with my food, and her story was that she gave it to a hungry person.
One night, we went over to one of the Fourth Avenue bars. On the way, we stopped in the park and sat to talk with some people on the lawn. It was a very strange experience. As we said "hi" to people walking by, no one acknowledged us — they just walked right past as if we didn't exist. I'd never felt that way before. We had bought some food and were eating it in the park, sharing it with our new friends. We realized we needed more food and took our new friends to a late-night eatery and got them some food. They were all appreciative and thankful. One man even did a beautiful Native dance for us and told us that he had danced in Washington, D.C., once for a special celebration.
Now when I see a hungry person, I try to give them food. I've stopped and bought hot sandwiches and hot chocolate to warm people on subzero nights. I've seen people stop and hand out bottles of water to keep them hydrated. I don't have much to give but am happy to share when I can. It pleases me that others do the same. Thank you, Allison, and all the others who try to help. I doubt that anyone has ever set out to be homeless and hungry. They are not invisible; they are people too. They are a part of our city, and any help we can give them is surely appreciated.
— Vicki Williams
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