Part Five in a Six Part Blog Series on how YOU can ACT in BALTIMORE.
CNN ran an interesting article last week entitled Lord of the Flies Comes to Baltimore. This article focuses on a truth that seems inexplicable and complicated, and tends to evoke hopelessness.
Where are the older men of Baltimore City?
The answer of one man living in the City: “they got big numbers or are in pine boxes.” They are in jail or dead.
I expected this article to be more controversial. Maybe it is and I’m missing that controversy. The question-where are the older men of the City-is a good one without a good answer.
And the truth is, the older men are out there. True, some are in jail. Some have died. But some are in a spiral of addiction, poverty and homelessness that keeps them in the shadows and off the front porches or the away from the dining room tables of families.
More troubling to me is that many of these men are veterans.
Right in Baltimore, there is a place for these men who are still with us, veterans and non-veterans, who are not present in our neighborhoods but could be. Baltimore Station is this place.
The Baltimore Station is an innovative therapeutic residential treatment program
supporting veterans and others who are transitioning through
the cycle of poverty, addiction, and homelessness to self-sufficiency.
There are truly troubling statistics regarding veterans in particular. Did you know that:
- 40% of homeless men are veterans?
- 200,000 homeless veterans sleep on the street every night?
- 76% of homeless veterans experience alcohol, drug or mental health problems?
I don’t have the answers to a clearly systemic failure towards these men. There is personal responsibility (Baltimore Station emphasizes that), but there is also a massive societal failure of proportions I can’t begin to estimate or understand.
This may seem a cause too big for you individually. It does for me.
But here’s the good part: we don’t have to fix it all. I believe that is where many of us disengage. We see a problem of monstrous proportions and we throw up our hands. But our job is not to fix the whole mess. Indeed, once we give up our desire to “fix” we become better stewards of our time, money and talents and better servants. Our job is merely to serve and give where we can.
When Jesus was resurrected, his followers had to do one thing: roll back the stone. They didn’t have to revive him, they didn’t have to mount an insurrection to save him from crucifixion. Nor could they. All they had to do was roll back the stone in front of an empty tomb, to begin the story that brings us to a present day Golgotha.
Where are the older men of Baltimore City? Many are at Baltimore Station.
To donate to Baltimore Station, click here.
To volunteer with Baltimore Station, click here.
Tomorrow is my final post in this six-part series, featuring a local non-profit serving Baltimore City children who are victims of human sex trafficking.