Why I Care

Why I Care: Gene Rose Feeds the Homeless

An encounter with a homeless man caused Gene Rose to start volunteering at the Salvation Army.

By Ilene Denton April 26, 2017 Published in the May 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Soon after moving to Sarasota five years ago, Gene Rose had his bicycle stolen in front of a downtown bank. Walking back, grumbling, to his nearby condo, he passed a homeless man lying on the street. “I said to myself, ‘You are a jerk, complaining about a stolen bike when this person has so little.’ I walked over to the Salvation Army, and the woman at the front desk said, ‘How can I help you?’ I said, ‘No, how can I help you?’ The next morning, I showed up in the kitchen and I’ve been volunteering there ever since.”

“The only connection to the Salvation Army I ever had before I moved here was Guys and Dolls.

“The majority of the homeless problem is an economic one; people just can’t afford all the necessities of life, and this is something you can help them with.”

“Once you spend a month in the kitchen at the Salvation Army, you [understand] the different types of homelessness, and you get a closer feeling to the people. They’re not shadows; they’re real people.”

“It’s easy to write a check. Giving your time is a sacrifice.”

For more information, visit salvationarmyflorida.org/sarasota/.

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