How Can I Help Her

HOW CAN I HELP HER ~ 5.30.18


As I drove to pick up my son from school this afternoon, I noticed the lady that is known around town as being somewhat mentally ill or “off” and rides her bike. She usually looks clean and put together…enough…but clearly you can tell something is, as I said, off.

Today, I noticed she had a dog with her. This is a new development. I was thinking to myself, where did she find the dog, and the poor dog looks so scraggly.

As I drove on, I questioned myself, why was I more concerned about the dog? Why is it known and *accepted* throughout town that there’s this lady who rides her bike at all times of day and night, and doesn’t have a home that any of us can figure out, and sometimes stops and just dances on the street…clearly unsafe. Why am I not more concerned about how I can help her? I realized the answer is, it’s overwhelming. And it’s overwhelming because I don’t know how to go about helping her.


I don’t know where she lives, better worded as *stays*. If she doesn’t have an address that makes things even more difficult, such as receiving benefits. She clearly needs ongoing mental health assistance. How do I help with those issues? I could give her some money or some food, but that will only last her a couple of days.

And I just got to thinking…why as a community do we allow people like this to roam around like feral cats that we feed and water and do *enough* to keep them alive and comfortable but not really help solve the core issue. This is the second small town I’ve lived in where there’s been such an individual. I’m not sure if this is common, but I think that it most certainly is. I’ve come to the realization that I need to do some research here in my town, and in general, to educate myself on how I can help this particular lady and others I see in this situation.

Have any of you experienced something similar?

6 thoughts on “How Can I Help Her

  1. It’s everywhere Jen. Small towns, big cities..everywhere. When I lived in MArysville there was a wooded place under the bridge where the homeless camps were. They could be seen coming up over the levee , crossing the railroad tracks and head into MArysville for their daily panhandling .
    I did not give money, but occasionally gave food. I also gave blankets to them in winter. Our society does not really want to deal with this problem. And building all the homeless shelters in the world won’t always help. They chose to be out doors. Although certainly their ability to chose is impaired . I was told by an attorney I knew , homeless people can not be forced to find a home. Laws can be passed to keep the homeless away from certain areas……that is not the solution

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree with the problem being everywhere. I think most homeless are mental health patients turned out of facilities due to insurance issues, and veterans. I should’ve said I’m aware of the large city problems. Giving blankets and food are good ideas.


    2. And if they “choose” not to stay in shelters, it’s my guess that most of their choosing abilities are impaired.

      I think one thing that needs changing that would help is insurance issues.


  2. the first step i’d guess you already know would be to contact local help groups to see if anyone is aware of this lady and find out what her circumtances are and if indeed there is anything to help even as small as buying some dog food for her new friends or some hygiene products for the woman. it is a place to start along with a sandwich and a cup of tea maybe. i don’t know jen, the world can’t be changed in a day but one person’s world can be helped by one small thing. I usually give food or diapers or whatever i see a need for when passing. go with your gut and you cannot go wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. even the gift of a book can be like gold for someone to pass the long evenings. I rememer heretic used to spend a lot of time in the library or reading at night. or magazines to look at or colouring books – just ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like so many others, I’ve always made the choice to give food or money and keep driving by. Sometimes I give blankets in the winter and I donate what I can to Salvation Army. But I had a student a few sessions ago who shared a similar story and how he made the decision to get to know the local “crazy” man. They became friends. Being treated like a human being, seen as someone worth conversing with meant so much to him. Yes, my student offered this old vet put out of a mental institution assistance, a bit of money now and again, a hot meal at the local diner, but mostly conversation – a listening ear. And he was blessed for it. When he got in a wreck off the old man’s corner, it was the homeless vet who risked fire to pull him from his car and did for him until EMS arrived. Told the police his name and his wife’s name to contact. He credits the “crazy” man with saving his life. Simple kindness and humanity goes a long way. Too often society forgets these are people with stories to share who’ve led lives worth talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

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