Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


We have given up our own home to accommodate the homeless (Aug. 9 Gazette article, “Homeless leader loses shelter site, home”).

We have time and again stated that we work with organizations, churches and agencies with the goal of helping others. We have dedicated our time to others at our cost without giving it a second thought. Yet many still question our experience, our funds and our faith.

If it means giving up everything we have, except our marriage, to establish a shelter in Williamsburg, then so be it. This is one aspect nobody can question: our dedication. We are not seeking glory for what we do. We publicize via the newspaper and Internet to create awareness. We only want people to know that we take this seriously.

What good does it do to keep questioning our desire for a shelter? The only thing this accomplishes is to make the people who need help feel as if they aren't deserving of our efforts. Anyone who is a Christian and has a relationship with God knows that it is the poor and needy who are more deserving than others.

We will survive. We can always find another place to live in Williamsburg. But there are many who don't have this opportunity. There are a large number of people who need help because the cost-of-living here is too high for people in the service industry.

The James City officials I was claimed to have annoyed already know the facts about the homeless in Williamsburg, so what is the need for a study? All a study would accomplish is to postpone a program that could have already helped many. Besides, are they not aware that many others have tried to establish a shelter in Williamsburg long before we moved here? And they were shot down too.

If you want to do a study, then focus on these issues: (1) How much would it cost the taxpayers for a study by Social Services? (2) How much time would be used on the study that could have gone to people who wait in line for help? (3) How much money have the churches, Salvation Army and Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent paid for hotels that could have gone to establish a shelter and get people into homes? (4) How can you sleep at night, knowing families with children are hungry and sleeping in their cars and on the streets?

I lose sleep when I hear a family is on the streets. I would rather miss a meal if it meant that somebody else could eat. And if somebody doesn't keep in contact with me, I go out and search for the person to make sure everything is okay.

We are a couple who wants to help others, with some volunteers and money out of our own pockets, or funds paid for needs by churches. Other than churches and organizations to help cover somebody's room or food, we have not asked for donations of money.

Some do it because it is their job. We do it because it is our calling.
Patti & Geoff McKenzie


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