This column is called as you can see, “Life as I see it. . .” and typically I am an observant type of person. Sometimes we have rude awakenings, reminders of the fact that life isn’t perfect or even good for everyone.
Last Saturday I was among the folks helping out at the annual River Clean Up in Colusa.
This is a great event which is hosted annually by Premier Mushrooms Inc., Central Valley Gas Storage, Steelhead Lodge Bar & Grill, and Recology.
We’ve done this now for five years. This year was a bit different. We collected 1,200 pounds of trash and 200 pounds of recyclables from the riverbank. We’ve collected that much in the past, but this year the bulk of it came from several abandoned homeless camps along the river. These folks had walked way from their makeshift homes when the river flooded their camps.
I don’t live in a fancy house by any standards, but I am fortunate to have a warm, dry place with the comforts of home.
What we found on the riverbank was a reminder that not everyone has a home. Sometimes we take for granted that we can turn on the faucet and get water, plug in an appliance, or turn on the air conditioning or the heat. Not everyone can do that.
Seeing firsthand the remnants of these camps reminded me that there are more homeless people in Colusa County than many of us realize.
One friend reminded me that some homeless people are there by choice, but there are many that are there by circumstance.
It is not our place to judge. We don’t know how or why someone got into that situation. I have seen in my lifetime some pretty lean days myself. It’s not easy to survive when you get down to nothing.
Some years ago I did an outreach project for a northern California flower farm. It was my job to do some seminars and offer recruitment for qualified individuals looking for employment.
One of my favorite memories of that time was meeting a homeless couple and their dog.
These folks were passing through the area looking for work. Like others I’ve written about here, they, too, were camped on the Sacramento River.
They came to the seminar in Williams, but left thinking they wouldn’t qualify for the jobs.
I told the company’s human resource person about them and he said lets give them an interview, but when we tried their cell phones there wasn’t an answer.
That didn’t stop my friend Donna Vaughn from One Stop. She went looking for them. She didn’t find them, but we eventually connected with the couple by cell phone.
They came for the interview; they were hired, but they didn’t have a place to live, money to rent a place, or even money for gas to get there.
A few of us chipped in a few bucks to get them gas for the trip, and when they got there, the human resource manager found them a place to live.
The update on this couple is they are still with the company and he is a supervisor, they have a nice home near the beach, and the dog had puppies!
I always felt like my purpose in being hired by this company was so that I could meet this couple.
This just tells me that all some folks need is a chance. Oh, I know that there are scoundrels or “players” out there, but sometimes you meet the folks that just need a little help to get back on their feet.
Overall, there are good people in this world, and they live among us.
Life is good today.
— Kathy Craigo is a publicist, speaker, and life coach. She owns Kathy Craigo Media Consulting in Colusa. Contact Kathy Craigo at firstname.lastname@example.org.