■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter
I was somewhat astonished that so many churches did not respond to my query as to what they were doing to help out the homeless and hungry during the Christmas holidays.
However, what I saw on Florida Avenue and some side streets was downright appalling. I made a point of checking out the back doors of various businesses up and down the main thoroughfare in the city of Hemet.
On Christmas morning I viewed half-a-dozen homeless men and women cuddled into fetal positions next to and behind the Dumpsters. One lady held a small child to her chest.
Along the shrubbery adjacent to a popular banking complex, a young man and his girlfriend huddled against the greenery. I slipped them money for a hot breakfast.
On Monday I was relating my story to an older couple, customers of a local coffee shop where some of us gather in the mornings.
The lady spoke first, “It is enough to make you cry. I always think that some mother is wondering where her son is and ask myself if the young man I gave a dollar to is him.”
Her husband had a different tack. “I always think to myself, these homeless kids I see in parking lots, looking hungry and sick, but for the Grace of God could be one of my grandchildren.”
I wonder, with all the empty buildings up and down the main drag, why the city doesn’t get together with the owners of those buildings and provide cots for the cold, and often suffering homeless?
Not all homeless who traverse the streets and back alleys of Hemet are druggies. I often engage young people who seem to be lost in the maze of our society and most of them do not even smoke cigarettes. It seems so easy to prejudge or just ignore the mass of humanity that is not as lucky as we. Whether we like it or not, they are among us and they can’t be swept under the carpet like dust. Come on Government — it’s your problem, too.