This letter is a response to Cherri Foytlin’s letter in last week’s Rio Grande SUN titled “New City Signs Deny Dignity.”

    Last week a young man approached me in a local parking lot and asked for some money to get breakfast. I asked him where he slept at night and he told me he was sleeping in a tent because there were no vacant beds at the Pathways Shelter. He was very polite and seemed happy that I wanted to speak with him. When I came out from shopping I saw that he had gotten something to eat and I was glad that I could help.

    Later that week I met an older woman who was also experiencing hard times. She had a place to sleep at night but no money for food. The majority of the people whom I have spoken with are grateful to be treated with respect and compassion.

    I decided to find out what services Pathways Shelter offers so I spoke with the manager, Shannon Baum. She explained that they do not turn people away, especially in this cold weather. Anyone may come in for a hot meal, shower and/or a place to sleep. She encouraged me to visit the Shelter which I hope to do in the near future.

    So how can we help our neighbors in need? Rather than giving a few dollars I will keep some fruit or snacks and hygiene products like wipes in my car. I will donate gloves, hats and warm clothing to the Shelter. I will continue to engage with people in need in order to let them know that I respect them. I will ask their name and listen to them and suggest that they visit the Pathways Shelter.

    The City can be more pro-active by putting up attractive signs listing all of the many, local agencies and their phone numbers. Most agencies are grateful for volunteers and/or donations. This may also help those who need help and don’t know where to find it.

    In this season of giving, let each one of us find ways that we can help others with respect and compassion.

    Judith Chaddick

    Velarde

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