"Simon" has been living in the homeless community for about two years. His presence there has been a mystery. He seems
to have none of the problems that ordinarily result in homelessness.
Gradually, we discovered that he is an ordained minister and is
quietly assisting certain invidividuals who need help, often the most
vulnerable and confused. I started to ask him to help out, here and
there. Sometimes he said yes and sometimes no, once explaining that Spirit
was not telling him to take on that particular task. Finally I said to
him, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" He said he didn't so
I asked him - did you leave your home and move on to the streets in order to
follow the bidding of the Spirit moment-to-moment? He said, "Yes, I
received this calling 22 months ago."
This is a centuries-old tradition, spoken of in the literature of, I believe, all the major religious traditions in the world:
the wandering monk or sannyasin who walks out the front door and lives
unemcumbered, under the stars, following the will
of the Creator in the moment, dependent solely on the
Creator for sustenance. In recent times, an old woman named Peace Pilgrim
chose this path, walking the streets and highways of this country for more than
20 years, preaching peace. She never carried money or anything that
didn't fit into her small backpack.
I am shaken with wonder when I meet someone like Simon in the homeless community - as I have before a time or two. He is
part of the hidden universe of the poor and the faithful that coexists within
our world almost like another dimension. We can have hope because it's
still there - you won't find it on Face Book or anywhere else but in
the universe of Now, where the homeless people live.
"Miss May, Bill and Mr. Leon"
Miss May worked all her life as a waitress. She has lived in the St. Francis House neighborhood for decades. All those
years she helped out the homeless people, with food, friendship, and even
shelter on stormy nights. Now she's 77, in poor health, and struggling
along along on Social Security. She became ill this year and her weight
dropped to 57 pounds. The homeless people, led by Bill and Mr. Leon, have
made a project of helping her out. They go to food pantries and outdoor
meals all over the dowtown area, gathering food for her and cooking it.
Her weight is now up to 81 pounds, a fact they are celebrating. Last week
they told me that her oven isn't working and her frig no longer keeps food
cold. We have asked Christians Concerned for the Community to find a stove
and frig for her. The waiting list at CCFC is long, but we're hoping for
an intervention of Grace. It happens.
CCFC needs more furniture, especially beds at this time. If you have furniture to donate you can reach them at a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank">firstname.lastname@example.org>
Malcolm suffers from chronic depression. He is so disabled that he literally lives on the streets, without even a campsite,
sleeping any place he can. A giant cloud of doom seems to hang over
him. So last Tuesday we were surprised to see Malcolm striding around the
parking lot where we serve dinner shaking hands all around and saying "God bless
you" to one and all. Except for the religious content of his
greeting, he looked like someone running for elective office.
One of his friends explained. Malcolm had prayed all day that he would be able to get two pairs of socks, not just one,
when the Van arrived. At the end of the sock distribution, Ben walked over
to Malcolm and said, "I have one pair of socks left, would you like
THANK YOU FOR THE MYLARS!!
The mylar donations are rolling in. Thank you all so much!
HOLIDAY STOCKINGS FOR THE HOMELESS PEOPLE
As many of you know, the Home Van distributes Christmas stockings for homeless people every year, on the last driveout before
Christmas. Every year this project grows larger, making it quite a
challenge to accept and store the stockings and haul them to the plaza.
This year we are doing something different. We are hosting a Christmas
party for the homeless people and their extended community family at 5:45 p.m.
on Thursday, December 23 in the little parking lot on the south side of the
Civil Court House, next to the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. We are asking
folks to bring their Christmas stockings to the party (Christmas cookies welcome
also!) and enjoy the festivities witlh us. We understand that Christmas is
a busy time and not everyone will be able to attend, but people often work as
groups putting together the Christmas stockings so we hope everyone will be able
to send a representative if they can't come themselves.
For you new folks, here is how you make a Christmas stocking for a homeles friend: Take one pair of white tube socks.
Roll one of the socks into a ball and put it in the toe of the other sock.
Fill the rest of the socks with little presents and tie off the top. We
ask that people do not put money into the stockings. Although money is
wonderful, it is painful when some people receive money and others don't.
Suggested stocking stuffers include the following: Small canned meats,
chocolate bars, playing cards, paperback books, puzzle books, travel games,
flashlights, batteries, small stuffed animals, stamped envelopes, pens and
I will be posting reminders about this closer to the time. It's a great project to do with children.
BENEFIT FOR HELPING HANDS CLINIC
Dear Friends, Volunteers, and Supporters,
We are very excited to tell you that Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Co. is celebrating their 10 year anniversary by holding a "giving back" event from
October 10th - 31st benefiting the Helping Hands Clinic!
From October 10th - October 30th, (Monday - Thursday), 5:00pm - 10:00pm individuals can go to the restaurant and request to sit in the
"best seat of the house." At that table, all sushi rolls ordered are 50%
off. The diners can choose to keep the discount for themselves, or instead, pay
the bill in full and donate the discounted amount to the Helping Hands
This table cannot be reserved in advance, and is on a first come first served basis. Therefore, it is very important that supporters of the HHC are
going to Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Co. and encouraging others to go and donate
their discount to support the Helping Hands Clinic!
Then, on Sunday October 31st from 5:00pm - 10:00pm, the day Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Co. are celebrating their 10 year anniversary, all
tables in the restaurant will receive 50% off their sushi rolls which they can
either keep or donate to the HHC.
Please help us spread the word about this benefit event!
We are very grateful to Dragonfly for supporting the Helping Hands Clinic and hope you will
all go request the "best seat of the house"
Monday - Thursday of October
10th - October 30th and to the grand celebration on Sunday, October 31st.
I have attached Dragonfly's release to this email for more
Dragonfly Sake and Sushi Co. is located:
201 SE 2nd
Gainesville, Florida 32601
Citizen coalition rallies to overturn city’s meal limits
When: Thursday October 21, 2010, 5:00PM
Where: Gainesville City Hall , 200 E. University Ave.
Gainesville, Florida —On Thursday October 21 at 5:00 PM
students and community members will rally together in front of city hall with
activist Pat Fitzpatrick, and demand the 130 meal limit be removed.
The demonstration will include speakers from the Gainesville area and
afterwards participants will voice their opinions during the Citizen Comment
forum in front of the council members.
The meal limit covers soup kitchens not attached to a place of religious
assembly and has been in place since 1992. It only recently
began being enforced two years ago for the St. Francis House, a homeless shelter
in downtown Gainesville . Pat Fitzpatrick was recently
featured in the documentary “Civil Indigent,” which tells the story of his
struggle to overturn the ordinance.
"We're going to feed the hungry," he said, "no matter what."
City commissioners have said they were trying to limit the number of
homeless downtown, largely because of complaints from businesses.
Wherever services for the homeless are, people tend to
congregate. The meal limit is meant to spread out services
and therefore spread the concentration of homeless people.
The ordinance puts the city’s image above the needs of the people living
here and puts the wishes of downtown business owners above the
community. The community will be out the express their
opinions on this issue on October 21st.
“The meal limit completely disregards basic human needs. With the current
economic recession, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to find a decent paying
job, and there aren’t enough jobs for everyone. The very
least we can do as a society is ensure that every hungry person has a decent
meal and nobody is turned away when there is enough for everyone,” said Joe
Cenker, a local citizen.
Peace and blessings to all of you,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly,
candles, white tube socks, mylar emergency blankets, games. Call
352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van
should be in the form of checks made out to the St. Vincent de Paul Society,
earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL
32601, or can be made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com/