I left my water bottle in my truck last night, this morning it was a solid block of ice.
Last night almost 3,000 Baltimoreans slept on the street. Countless others slept in housing without heat or electricity.
Recently, I spent time at my neighbor Charles' place. Charles Armstrong*, better known as "The Homeless Artist," is often seen pushing and pulling his carts covered in plastic canvases of his art. During the summer Charles crosses the city of Baltimore, but during the winter weather Charles is less mobile.
As the sun went down, and the wind picked up I quickly realized how little a dollar does to keep someone similar to Charles warm. It was 42 degrees when I last parted ways with him; tonight's low will be 22 degrees.
Charles suggest that before you roll down your window and hand that familiar face a buck, that you ask your neighbor "What Helps?" In Charles' case, its Sterno burners or rubbing alcohol, and dark colored tarps. But everyone is different, so don't assume. If you'd like to make a difference, if you'd like to help someone, don't forget your neighbors this winter.
*Charles Armstrong is an alias, i respect his wishes not to use his real name. Charles will be featured in the upcoming edition of Baltimore's City Paper.