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To the editor:

The 1989 tax form contains a new line titled, "Voluntary contributions to assist the homeless." I hope Utahns will consider giving to this worthy cause.Have you seen homelessness? Suffering is an experience common to all of humanity, but there are depths of sorrow, hopelessness, and despair that we ourselves may seldom experience and yet, if we but look, seems to surround us.

Thinking back on last winter, I remember some of those homeless people I briefly saw or talked with in Salt Lake City.

One of my visits was to a food kitchen; just leaving was a young family. The mother looked tired, her eyes dulled, her soul heavy; the father's shoulders seemed laden with a heavy burden as he so gently and tenderly directed his small children out into the cold. I sat, and watched, as they silently left the shelter.

I also visited a school for the homeless; Utah is the only state with such a "school." The children are young. When I asked the children what they would wish for - it was a home. They were like my own children, but with sadder eyes, more tired, with less of that hope and exuberance of youth.

Later, in the shopping mall, surrounded by spending and getting, I talked with an attractive young woman who had not eaten for some time; she was still too fearful to go to the shelters, not as innocent as the child. But she too had hopes, dreams, fears - fears all too real.

There were other homeless people, not all gentle. Their souls reflecting too much the darkness of their experience. Misery has many faces.

Christ appealed to us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring the poor who are cast out into our homes; who more personify this need than the homeless men, women and children we may or may not see around us.

I hope this year when people come to this new line on their Utah income tax form, they will give generously.

Donations go into a special trust account, specifically aimed at programs for the homeless who are mentally ill and the homeless who are families with children; for self-sufficiency and shelter; and with administrative costs limited to 3 percent.

Give generously; it will mean hope, comfort, and a chance at a respectable life for real people in need.

Rep. Frank Prante