Removing life’s roadblocks Print
Fonder Ponders
Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Fonder Ponders column by Jackson Fonder

My wife and I recently celebrated our 25-year wedding anniversary and wanted to plan a special vacation. After talking about a variety of options, we landed on visiting a few national parks.

We thought that a trip out west to Yellowstone and the Tetons would be the perfect get-away. We spent a lot of time laying out a two-week itinerary to include rest stops, B&Bs, tourist attractions, and peaceful hiking in the mountains. Everything was going as planned, but on the morning of day two, that all changed.

We hit a deer on the road. Unfortunately, I didn’t respond fast enough when that deer jumped onto the highway. It was a sad ending for the deer and my vehicle.

Stranded on the side of the road on a 90-degree day in the middle of Wyoming left us feeling shaken and vulnerable. Thank goodness we walked away without injury. What really saved us was our support system. Being able to count on people when you need them the most is a blessing that not all of us have.

Sometimes things don’t work out in life as we plan. The roadblocks of life happen to all of us. Sometimes, the roadblocks are just inconvenient, and we do what we need to do to fix the situation. Other times, the roadblocks are catastrophic and can cause suffering, financial hardship, personal loss, and even homelessness.

When I’ve talked to our guests at The Beacon, I’ve learned that there are many different reasons that someone falls into homelessness. While it’s usually a combination of things, like losing a job or falling behind on rent, sometimes the cause of homelessness is one tragic incident, like losing a loved one or experiencing a medical issue, that changes their living circumstance. Any one of these “roadblocks” can derail an individual’s life.

At The Beacon, we assist in removing those roadblocks. For many people, we are the support system that helps them get past the obstacles. We help people find jobs and housing; connect them with resources to help with medical or mental illness concerns; and provide basic services like meals, showers, and laundry. All of this brings them one step closer to getting off the streets.

Please consider being a part of our support system. Say hello to a homeless neighbor, volunteer for a shift in our kitchen, or give financial support. Learn more at

Jackson Fonder is president and CEO of Catholic Charities Madison.