I’d like to take a few minutes to just gab about an issue that is near and dear to me. I’ve worked with the homeless predominately over the last 6 years and have found it to be some of the most rewarding work (volunteer or otherwise) that I have ever done. My wife and I have had the opportunity to work with multiple groups of teenagers including attending a national conference on the homeless, as well as, taking groups to some of our island neighbors in the Caribbean. Since then, I’ve never looked at homeless folks in the same light. Ironically, as hikers, we sort of take on that aura as we travel about. The longer we’re on the road … the more folks look at us and treat us as if we’re homeless. They tend to walk around us giving us a wide berth! Hurricane Irma provided me with the opportunity to open up “Faith Cafe” and to provide some of Tampa’s homeless with shelter, food and some company. As you can see, my striped pjs were the bomb and I had a blast cooking up some good soup and making sandwiches. This post is not about me, I’ve included some of this background material so you can judge for yourself the authenticity or veracity of what I am about to say. The homeless; a group of some of the most marginalized and overlooked folks on this portion of the planet. In years past, the church (and many service groups) provided our society with outreach programs that addressed many of the needs and concerns for those temporarily without food or shelter. Combine that with the vast numbers of veterans returning from tours in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afganistan … combine them with the advent of laws that have forced many institutions to release people previously held because they were unable to adequately care for themselves, the start of Federal food stamps and subsidized public housing and of course the dwindling numbers attending churches thereby reducing the funds available for public outreach; more and more folks are falling through the cracks. You hear a great deal of “get a job” and “God helps those who help themselves”. I for one am here to say BAH … assume the folks you see are HIKERS … just off the trail and in need of the visit from a nice “Trail Angel”. Don’t judge … just help where you can.