BOISE --With the weather getting colder and the holiday season now here, the need is great right now. And those in need are feeling like they have fewer and fewer options.
You've seen them, people standing on the street corner with a sign that reads something like, Lost job, homeless, 6-month-old son, anything helps, God Bless.
But how does a person get to that point? So desperate that they'll put away their pride, stand in freezing temperatures for hours, and hope that passing drivers are generous enough to help them make ends meet for one more day?
It was 17 degrees in Boise during the noon hour and Tommy Lovenberg was standing outside hoping for a little help.
Right now he lives off the generosity of others but it wasn't always this way. As recently as July, he had a job and a 3-bedroom apartment.
I took off time for his birth, said Lovenberg. Her grandma passed away, I took off time for that. Took off too much time and they had to let me go. Got kicked out of our apartment because we couldn't pay the rent. Can't find work so I stand on the corner holding a sign.
And that's how Lovenberg spends most days, getting up in his tiny motel room, throwing on the warmest clothes he has, kissing his 6-month-old son Dakota and fiancee Aesha goodbye, and trudging out to the corner of Fairview Avenue and Cole Road or Curtis Road.
I never thought I'd be in this situation, he said.
Each day Tommy hopes to get about $50 as soon as he can so he can go inside, warm up, pay for his room and buy some food for his family, then try to spend the rest of the day looking for a job that doesn't require him to have a car.
As soon as I can find a job, I can get us into a place, said Lovenberg. We pray every day that something comes our way.
But until then, Tommy is on the corner, sometimes for as much as seven hours. And while he is incredibly grateful for everyone who gives, some people are hostile.
I've been spit on, cursed at, you name it, said Lovenberg. I've talked to people, they say that I do this because I want to. Well, if anybody knows the weather yesterday, nobody wanted to be out in there.
We're not out there because we want to be, we're out there because we have to be, said Aesha Taylor, Tommy's fiancee. I wouldn't have my baby in this situation if I didn't have to. We pray everyday that we'll get past it, and we know we will. We just have to keep going and getting through it. We just hope that people can realize that we're not bad people.
Tommy and Aesha are also hesitant to bring their young son to a shelter because they don't trust the other people staying there.
Interestingly, the city of Boise currently has a campaign going encouraging people to donate to charities, instead of people on street corners. They say the money can do more good.
Editor's note: Since we aired this story, the community response has been overwhelming.
Tommy says he has received a job offer, diapers and toys for his 6-month-old son. People have also paid for his room for a few nights, and brought him Thanksgiving dinner.
Tommy wanted us to pass along his sincerest thanks to all those who have helped him and his family during this holiday season.