Category Archives: hunger

Hidden-camera test of kindness: Good idea, but unfair prank

Yesterday morning I learned of a new video that’s making the rounds on social media, a hidden-camera exercise comparing people’s reactions to two individuals on crutches who “fall” on a city street. Of course I watched it, thinking that I’d … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, peace, poverty, religion, role models | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Abandoned Syracuse office building draws police’s attention

Syracuse police and other law enforcement agencies spent several hours Wednesday going through an abandoned 10-story building that has been a daytime hangout for some of the city’s homeless. My friend James, who sleeps in a doorway of the office … Continue reading

Posted in crime, Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is Christmas ‘a sad season’? John Cheever had the answer

Every December I re-read John Cheever’s short story, “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor.” And every year I share a link to it on Facebook. I don’t think many people bother to read it — even when I preface it by … Continue reading

Posted in books, communication, hunger, Irish Investigations, language, poverty, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

A tale of two shoes in four short paragraphs

A man I don’t know walked past me, carrying a pair of my shoes. He went out the door, but I didn’t try to stop him. The long white laces were tied together, and the shoes were draped over his … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty, running | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Unexpected lessons learned after running 26.2 miles

Running 26.2 miles provides plenty of lessons and revelations, but it’s often the unexpected that stand out. Here are four from Sunday in Columbus, Ohio — kindness, helplessness, desperation and yes, more kindness. Kindness  After finishing the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, … Continue reading

Posted in children's hospital, hunger, Irish Investigations, running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Maria’s Outreach: Helping the homeless in Syracuse

From her office window last year, Maria Sweeney could look out and see a homeless man who lived in the doorway of an abandoned building. Each time she saw him, she wondered who he was and how he ended up … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How much crime and decay should we tolerate?

The night the cops raided the apartment below us, we no longer felt safe here. My girlfriend’s apartment building is in a city neighborhood that not too long ago was relatively peaceful and stable. But that has eroded in recent … Continue reading

Posted in crime, family, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

How to hide in plain sight in my city: Live in a doorway

Every time I stop by the abandoned doorway to see hardcore homeless James, I think, “Well, at least he’s still alive.” For how long, though? James is 48, and looks every bit like a man who lives outdoors year round, … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A man with a tin can, a street corner institution in Syracuse

You hear Gertis McDowell before you see him. The steady rhythm of coins shaking in his tin can gives him away before you spot him in his wheelchair on the street corner. Gertis  is an institution in Syracuse, N.Y. He … Continue reading

Posted in college, hunger, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Would you give ‘Hardcore Homeless’ James an apartment?

Like everyone else in Central New York, my homeless acquaintance James has been riding out a ridiculously long and bitter winter. He’s considered “hardcore homeless” because he refuses to go to a shelter, no matter how cold it gets. Every … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments