ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dignity, Homelessness & the Amazing Chain

Updated on November 30, 2011
Our In His Shoes group along with some of our homeless brothers and sisters on the streets of Los Angeles' Skid Row area
Our In His Shoes group along with some of our homeless brothers and sisters on the streets of Los Angeles' Skid Row area

Our outreach group, In His Shoes, has been feeding and clothing the homeless on Skid Row for the past four years. In His Shoes rallies support for those that are less fortunate walking in their shoes. Our organization came about as we were trying to find better ways to combat the evil of a genocide that happened 90 plus years ago when the Ottoman Turks set out to wipe out our people. Rather than demonstrations and protests...we are reaching out to those who are homeless, hungry and displace, as we once were when we came to this country.

I wrote this piece last year right around this time of year, and I wanted to share as our work with the homeless, and the Darfur genocide continues today. ********************************************************

Dignity. The dictionary defines it like this:

–noun 1. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. I witnessed this dignity in a homeless man this past Monday night, and as we start this Thanksgiving/Christmas season, I keep thinking about him. And about the way things fall right into place, just the way they are supposed to. This past Monday, we visited our homeless friends on the streets of Los Angeles. Our monthly homeless outreach has been going strong for four years now. With the decline of the economy, we are seeing even more homeless on the streets. As usual, we were equipped with soup, water, snacks. We had a full pickup truck of clothing, and by a kind donation we also had some emergency mylar blankets and ponchos.

We pulled up to our first stop around 8:00 p.m. 4th Street and San Pedro streets. There's a small encampment there of people living in boxes (if they are lucky to have a box), and on the sidewalk itself. It's cold. A man came up to me and asked if I would have a pair of shoes for him. He said he had shoes, and if we didn't have any, that was fine. But his shoes were canvas, and it had been raining.... No worries. I set out to the back of the pick up to find him some shoes. Digging around, I found a pair of leather high top shoes. I held them up. "Can you use these?" He looked. He smiled. He said, "Those look great. I hope they fit. I won't take them if they don't though. Let me try them on." I grabbed him a pair of socks, and he set out to try on the shoes. In the meantime, I asked him if he could use some soup? an emergency blanket? how about a poncho. "I'm good," he said. "I have everything I need. But thank you." The shoes fit. He was smiling....and stomping around in the shoes. Then he did something very few on the streets would do. He handed me his canvas shoes, and said, "I'll donate these to you. They're worn, but someone else can make some use of them. Oh, and I'd like to give you a donation." When I thanked him but said it wasn't necessary, he said, "Oh, no, I know it's not necessary, but I'd like to. It's important that we help one another. And your group is here helping us." He pulled out $2 from his pocket and handed it to me with thanks. "God bless you guys. And Happy Thanksgiving to you."

Wow. I was touched by his manner. He looked like all he had was the clothing on his back and the new shoes on his feet. But he was happy. He didn't want to take, without giving back. Yet he was worn. You could tell he had been on the streets for a long time. The man had dignity. The evening went on. At each of the stops we fed and clothed. I met a man that couldn't speak, and we had a little fun as he would point at various items of clothing and try to "ask" me for certain items. I'd get a thumbs up if I guessed correctly....and a smile. I had a great time with our crew, two of which were first timers. At each stop though, I would try to find some feet for the canvas converse shoes that were donated so generously. But no takers.

At our last stop, the lines for food were huge. Hungry people lined up as our crew poured hot water into the cup-o-noodles. At the pick up we were busy finding clothing for people. We never have enough warm clothing, the need is so great. But we actually did have enough where everyone who approached us got something. When the lines had died down, we announced it was time to pack up. That's when Selin, our newest crew member, asked me in Armenian, "Do you think you have some shoes and socks for this man? He's barefoot." I looked to find a man, standing in shorts and a tshirt waiting for soup. The shoes! I ran back to the truck. It was almost empty, but the shoes were there along with a few pairs of mismatched socks. By the time I returned the man was gone. Luckily, Aram had seen where he went. He was back in his box. The two of us went to this man's home and knocked on the box. He peeked out and we offered him the shoes and socks. And they were a perfect fit.

When I think about how it all worked that night, I don't know why I shouldn't expect it to work out that way from the beginning. Through God's grace, all things are possible (and probable). The man that donated the shoes at the first stop had a reason for doing so. The fact that there wasn't a match for them at our other stops was also meant to be. The barefoot recipient of the shoes was supposed to be in line, barefoot. And Selin, being new to our ministry, was supposed to be right where she was, distributing the soup and taking it all in, in order to take compassion upon this man and ask that we might have shoes and socks for him. It's an amazing chain this way. Everyone has something they can give: be it a smile, a thank you, a pair of shoes, a compassionate heart, a kind word, an ear to listen.

And what happened to the $2 donation? At our church we have a prayer box. Each Sunday, prayer requests are read during the divine liturgy and we pray for those mentioned. A donation was made with the $2 for the Hungry and the Homeless of our city. My prayers are with them for sure. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to learn some very valuable life lessons from those who have nothing but their dignity. They have so much.

How can I learn more about In His Shoes

To learn more about In His Shoes and the various outreach programs and how you can help, please visit


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)