Thank you, Ryan Winslett, for your May 29 article on homelessness in Fountain Hills.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve lived in Fountain Hills for almost 17 years and did not know until recently that there are homeless people in our town. After learning about Arizona Friends of the Homeless (AFOH) through local resident Ilona Adams, who volunteers with this organization, I’ve begun helping where I can.

AFOH, along with St. Vincent de Paul, actively assists the homeless here in Fountain Hills and throughout the Valley, meeting them where they are on the street and helping to find housing for them or to bring them food, water, etc.

When many of us think of the homeless, I believe our attitude is, “Keep them as far away from us as possible.” It’s uncomfortable and scary to realize that, if a few things go wrong, we could be in their situation – with nowhere to shower, take care of basic hygiene, sleep, wash clothing, hungry, thirsty, etc. We push those thoughts aside and push these people aside.

Although problems of drug abuse, crime and mental illness are rampant among the homeless, many are simply ordinary folks who’ve experienced a catastrophic series of events, such as loss of a job combined with unusually high medical bills, and are quickly overwhelmed.

AFOH can always use volunteers and they maintain an Amazon wish list, where anyone can order hygiene supplies, water, nonperishable food, etc. and have it delivered directly to AFOH for distribution to those in need. Today I ordered shoelaces in bulk. Who thinks about shoelaces? Yet try walking in lace-up shoes with no laces. Then try it all day.

If you’d like to help, visit the Facebook page, “AZ Friends of Homeless.”