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A Simple Request from a Hungry Homeless Woman

By Analiz Gonzalez
Buckner International

There were about eight people living in the tent. It had been a week since Hurricane Dolly, so they’d been sleeping under the elements and living off of the food they’d received from the Red Cross.

I dangled half my body out of the pickup truck to take pictures for an article I would be writing. I could smell the stagnant water, like rotting fish.

“Jorge,” they said, when we stopped in front of them. Jorge Zapata is the director of the Buckner colonia program, which sends missionaries down to the poorest parts of the border to help with construction and supply needs.

One of the women walked up to the truck and pointed at a piece of wet cardboard that had once been part of her family’s mobile home. “Maybe you can send someone to fix it?”

Jorge scratched the back of his head. He couldn’t lie. “Well, hopefully we’ll be able to help you. But this house is beyond repair.”

She nodded. Her lips turned down, quivered. Her eyes watered. And her husband and children stood behind her, quietly. Expressionless.

But my focus was on an older woman who approached me as I took down notes.

“Tell, them, if you can,” she whispered. “To bring us some chicken. Write it down. A little bit of chicken for us, and for the children. We lost everything.”

I didn’t know what to do, so I wrote “a little bit of chicken” in the middle of my notes describing the conditions of the flooded road. It’s still there, now, scribbled in the middle of my water-stained note pad.

Jorge had told me that some people had been going to the San Carlos community center saying they hadn’t eaten anything in three days. He said that other people were too far from the community center to go for help.

When was the last time this woman had a meal?

We drove away from that family, further into the flooded street. I felt like I often feel when I am covering stories for Buckner: helpless. Except for one thing.

You see, the woman asked me to do something. “Tell them, if you can,” she whispered. ‘To bring us some chicken. Write it down. A little bit of chicken for us, and for the children. We lost everything.”

So I did.

To make a donation to support Buckner International’s relief efforts to the areas on the border affected by Hurricane Dolly, click here.
Buckner is now accepting story submissions for Buckner eNews Now and the Buckner Web site from people who have participated on mission trips or local volunteering.

Send your story in a Microsoft Word document to news@buckner.org. Include your name, city and state in the subject line along with the title of your submissions. Stories should be no longer than 1200 words. (ex. Your Perspective – John Doe, Houston, TX)

Send any photos as jpegs. We can accept anything up to 10 MB in one email.

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