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."

Saturday, January 31, 2004


Geeze the editor at the Daily Press is still trying to deny there is a homeless problem here in Williamsburg. To me, even if there is one person who is homeless, there is a problem, but that is just my opinion. Realisticly, there is over 30 people who either live(d) on the streets, in their cars, in the woods or under the bridge. Then you have the homeless that live in the weekly motels (the working weekly homeless who can afford a place to live, but can't get a place due to credit or high amount of deposit.) They total around 120 + people. Sounds to me like there is a problem when people have to pay $140+ for a motel room, yet can't put that toward rent in an apartment or a house.

The homeless: Peninsula model works but is not whole solution

January 31, 2004

As the Williamsburg area decides what to do about its homeless problem - or even if it has one - it has a model to consider. The community-based shelter programs in Newport News and Hampton offer an approach that has merit.

Hampton's homeless are served by "A Night's Welcome," run by Hampton Ecumenical Lodgings and Provisions. The key organization in Newport News and some surrounding communities is LINK, the Living Interfaith Network, which coordinates PORT (for People Offering Resources Together).

In both, shelter is not a building but a rotating welcome at churches, synagogues and temples. During fall and winter, congregations take turns opening their doors to the homeless. Often, they team up with other churches that help with meals, supervision and supplies.

Additional services, including referrals to agencies that help the homeless get their lives back on track, are offered. Police and social service agencies help out.

The advantages are many:

The program is inexpensive, since the facility, food and much of the manpower are contributed by congregations (drawing on community resources like the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula).

It's flexible. If few people use it, congregations can scale back their volunteer rosters and menus. If there's a big demand, they can ratchet up. But as the Peninsula organizations have discovered, an overnight census of 35 to 50 or more can be accommodated in local church buildings.

It's hands-on, involving many people helping their neighbors. That involvement is limited and of short duration, which, to be realistic, makes it appealing to more people. There's much to be said for this face-to-face way of caring for the needy in our communities, as opposed to delegating the job of compassion to "professionals" and removing it to an agency, whether government or privately supported. The opportunity to spend time with people who have drawn life's short straw can be an eye-opener for more fortunate people, and an invaluable lesson in citizenship for young people.

But this model isn't perfect. It puts people back on the streets after breakfast. It provides the bare minimum: shelter, heat, food, maybe a smile. But the homeless need much more, from basic logistical resources (transportation, a place to shower and do laundry, get a haircut, receive mail and stow belongings) to more specialized services (help with job training and search, health needs and, for many, mental health and substance abuse problems). It's hard to look for a job if there's no place to make calls, and it's hard to work without clean clothes and presentable hygiene. Many homeless people come with underlying problems that must be addressed if there is any hope of building a life not lived on the streets. But because programs like PORT encourage people to return every night, they offer the continuity around which interventions can be delivered.

The Williamsburg area already has in place one key element of the puzzle: prevention. The county and city have programs to help residents with the crises, financial and otherwise, that can plunge them into homelessness. They also help the homeless get housing. But for those not caught by that net, a rotating

shelter program may be the best alternative to streets, parks and overpasses.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Even though I am sick, I still have duties to fulfill. While lying on the couch with my throat aching, I kept trying to figure out what to fix for dinner. Suddenly I got a craving for fixing curry chicken (I am a big fan of fixing Indian cuisine.) I know it might seem stupid to talk about dinner on the blogsite, but it is relevant. So here are my thoughts and feelings:

1. AS KEVIN POINTED OUT ABOUT THE CHURCHS' PROGRAM, WHEN YOU EAT, IT IS LIKE BEING SERVED AND NOT FELLOWSHIP. Geoff and I HATE this mentality! We don't believe in serving food and us go to another room. When somebody who is homeless comes to our house as a dinner guest (which typically it is anywhere from 10-18 people a night,) we ALL sit down as a family at our dining room table and another table we added in our dining area. We say grace and then as a family would, start passing the grub! Without fellowshipping and showing care, all you are doing is handing out free food. Does this make them feel good? Typically no.

2. AS MANY HOMELESS HAVE POINTED OUT ABOUT FOOD IN OTHER PROGRAMS, IT IS VERY BASIC FOOD. Geoff and/or I cook each night. Everything is homemade for the mostpart (even at times the bread.) We don't do boxed mashed potatoes, we do real mashed potatoes. A typical meal at dinner would be chicken or pork chops, 2 veggies, sometime salad, bread and at times desert. Now on occassion we might do a hamburger helper, such as last night, but that is rare. The way we see it is if the everyday person in a home deserves 21 meals a week, then why don't the homeless. If the everyday person in a home deserves meat, veggies and desert then why don't the homeless?

3. But, I also want to point out that we could not do this without the churches. When we get low on food, people come over and drop off bags/boxes of fresh food so we can help feed our dinner guests and lunch guests. We are working on trying to get more people to come for dinner so they can fellowship and share in our love for the homeless.

More emails sent to me today about the potential PORT program and about "Cowby"

**I read last week in the 'other paper' about the possibility for a PORT program in Williamsburg, lead by United Way. Has it not occurred to anyone else that Patti McKenzie is already working to help the homeless in Williamsburg? Even though she has only been here for a year, she has done more for the homeless than United Way, who has been established here for many years. Why all of a sudden their interest in establishing a shelter? Why don't they help to back the efforts of Mrs. McKenzie? Many people in the past have written into the papers against Mrs. McKenzie for the fact she went out on her own to help the homeless, one-on-one, instead of joining an agency; but now it seems it is the agencies who are going out on their own instead of joining Mrs. McKenzie. Mrs. McKenzie is well known for her work with the homeless, but nothing was mentioned in the article?

I, myself, appreciate what she is doing and would support her efforts instead of an agency, which has only recently decided to establish a shelter. I appreciate the opportunity Mrs. McKenzie offers us in the community to personally get to know the homeless as people, not a name on a folder with markings of how many times they have been given help. I appreciate the awareness she has created here in Williamsburg. And I respect the solution she has provided to give the homeless, not only places to live and call their own, but hope and self-worth.

As a citizen, I say we should support her goal for a shelter and if anyone should be in charge, I say it should be Patti McKenzie!

**If it weren't for James City, "Cowboy" would not be dead. The county needs to realize that there are homeless individuals in the community and if they are kept off the street something like this would not have happened.

**The man killed by the train seemed to have given up. He had no more hope and nothing to look forward to. I am aware that Patti and Geoff McKenzie are trying to start a homeless shelter and the local officials are fighting them. Williamsburg is No 1 in not offering affordable housing or a shelter and it's a shame. The city should do something about this so others won't want to give up their life in such an aweful manner.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'm sick, with Strep Throat, I think. But, it could be worse, I could be on the streets with nowhere to go. Going to sleep. Good night everyone. I pray you keep warm tonight!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ron "Cowboy" Oliver Remembrance Service

Death is always heartbreaking when we are left behind with only memories of a loved one. And "Why?" tends to be the question we all ask when we receive tragic news of a person's passing. Although we may never know the reason for a person's death, we can only pray for a positive reaction from a situation most of us see as negative. The Bible and science tells us that when we plant a seed, it must die in order for it to spring back to life as a new life.

Cowboy, the person, has moved on into eternity. However, Cowboy’s body will be laid to rest in the ground like a seed. The question I ask you, what kind of new life will spring up from that seed? We can only pray that his death will lead to more awareness and concern in regards to the homeless in Williamsburg. The newspapers pointed out that he had a record of alcohol related convictions, but if you read the stories, what you should have realized is that he was human. Just like all of us, he had a past. Just like all of us, he had sins. But what people have failed to point out is the kind of person he was. On Sunday, we held a remembrance service in Cowboy's honor. The people who did share their memories of him all said "he was a great friend who would do anything to help his friends or another person. He was a kind and a gentle man, with a good sense of humor." Although I did not know him well, I did know he was a caring person. I am saddened that I did not have the opportunity to know him better. But what is sadder is to know you didn't have the opportunity to know him (or did you get the opportunity but passed it by because he was homeless?)

Unfortunately, homelessness has such a great stigma attached to it; many of us remain in fear of a person who is looking for a hand up. Instead of seeing a person as homeless, will you reach out in order to get to know them and possibly see them as a friend? Remember, the most famous homeless person, Jesus, did not turn His back on us because of our flaws. Nor does He turn away from us when we need a hand up. He accepts us as we are and asks us to do the same. Turning your back on a homeless person is the same as turning your back on God's Son. So again I ask, will you let Cowboy's “planting” lead you to new life and new understanding, instead of seeing only his flaws that were made public?

We extend our condolences and prayers to the Oliver Family, Margaret Perkins, and Cowboy's friends. He will be greatly missed.

Thank you to Food Lion (downtown) for donating food platters; Jeff's Flowers for their donation of an arrangement; Bucktrout Funeral Home for donating a tent; Whiting's Funeral Home for donating chairs; Anne Moore, Steve Bingham, Pastor Dave Rochford of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, and Pastor Bill Cashman of York River Baptist Church, for offering support and counsel; and Oliver Harvey and Maxine Halloway for donating money and making vital phone calls for the arrangements of the service.

What a shame it is that, in a community that claims it offers a complete set of governmental programs to help the needy, a man should become so despondent and hopeless that he would rather sit in front of a train and die than to face another day here on earth.
What a shame it is that, we spend so much time looking at our programs, we forget to look at the people we are supposed to be helping.
Even as recently as this past week, papers were circulated to try to put a number on the homeless situation here in Williamsburg so that we could create another program, another way to spend our tax dollars while still creating cracks large enough to lose whole groups of people in them. Has no one other than me wondered whether Cowboy would still be alive today if the paper-pushers had been out dealing with people one-on-one last week instead of pushing papers around their desks?
Shame on us, Williamsburg! Cowboy meant a lot to a lot of people on the streets. He had his faults, just like you and I have ours, yet he was known for being a faithful friend. But we pushed him away so consistently that in the end, he meant nothing to himself! A friend called me last night after reading the article on Cowboy and said "he wasn't a threat to society, he had a drinking problem. There are people behind gates in houses and people throughout the community that have drinking problems." I can't help but wonder who's next? Whom else have we rejected that soon will see no way to face another day? Do we even care? If we continue being as we've been, soon we might well have no homeless. Then Williamsburg will be able to declare in all sincerity, "We have no homeless problem." Will we be happy then? Will we be proud of ourselves for having cured the problem?

OPPS, This was a seperate email sent:

I hope we are not beyond feeling shame for how we have treated the poor that surround us, but I see little proof to the contrary. Cowboy's blood is on our hands, as far as I'm concerned, and yet all we have done up till now is hide our bloody hands behind our collective backs and shrug, child-like, and say, "Not my fault." What a smudge on our "pretty little postcard perfect town."
I, for one, am sickened by this and want to see some real, substantive change. We've millions to spend widening roads, building auditoriums, and arguing over what kind of kind of shutters are allowed in which zones on which streets, etc. Would it be so difficult to take a few million over the course of the next few years, put them in the hands of a capable, non-greedy person, such as Patti McKenzie seems to be, and really help out these poor, suffering souls? Five million to put a roof over an outdoor auditorium to keep the rain off of people at a concert once in a while, or five million to put a roof over the heads of people who need that roof every day? Is that so hard to answer? If our community pride weren't so misdirected at hiding the homeless, we could become known as people who truly care for the less fortunate. We could gain reknown as "the town that found a solution to homelessness." Then we could be proud of ourselves for what we are doing instead of priding ourselves in buildings that were built by people who've been dead for hundreds of years. Two hundred years from now, I want people to look back at the Williamsburg of 2004 and see that we did something this year other than maintain antique buildings and build new edifices to our pride. I want those future history students to see that we were not content to live in the past, but chose to live for the future. Preserve the CW? Yes. Most definitely! Preserve the people? Even more so.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

An anonymous comment sent:

The article reads: "Churches stress a lot of questions would have to be answered: Who would staff the shelters?"
Instead of throwing the whole project onto the churches, who may or may not understand the complexity of homelessness, why not support those people (Patti McKenzie) who truly want to help the homeless find a better life? There's a difference between caring for individuals as NEIGHBORS and FRIENDS, as opposed to just shoving the situation under a rug, which it appears some of the people interviewed had in mind when they were asked for comment. I agree that there are many possible routes to take on the issue of homelessness. But there are volunteers willing and able to devote their lives to others who are currently homeless, and they should be encouraged, not ignored.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Those of you who are homeless and participate in the churchs' winter housing programs, read the story below.

Homeless shelter weighed in Williamsburg: United Way, churches look for ways to help
It is sad, that even though it may be true, to point out the faults or actions of a homeless person when they have died. Yes, many times Cowboy was known to enjoy his alcohol, he was always a good friend to those on the street. May we let him rest in peace.

More On Cowboy

Friday, January 23, 2004


On Sun. Jan. 25th, we will be having a rememberance service at 4:00 PM at our home for his friends and family. Mrs. Oliver, we offer our condolences to you at this time for the lost of your son.

Some new him as Ron Oliver, but most on the streets knew him as "Cowboy". I had seen him several times around town hanging out with the guys at Southern Inn during the summer. Shortly after Thanksgiving I had stopped in to visit Lafayette at Southern Inn to invite him to our Christmas dinner and find out what size coat he wears, when in walked Cowboy. I had never been formally introduced to him, but heard a great deal about him from the other guys.

Cowboy, whatever it was that made you sit on those tracks and not move as the train sped forward, at least know that you will be missed by many and you are now in a place free from pain.

Williamsburg man, sitting on tracks, hit by train, dies

Daily Press

Published January 23, 2004

WILLIAMSBURG -- A 51-year-old Williamsburg man was struck by a CSX coal train Thursday and pronounced dead at the scene, Williamsburg police said.

The victim was identified as Ronald Jay Oliver of the 200 block of Merrimac Trail, said Deputy Police Chief Dave Sloggie.

The collision occurred about 1 p.m. on the tracks behind the Goodyear Auto Service Center in the 1500 block of Richmond Road, Sloggie said.

He said the engineer reported that the man was sitting on the tracks and did not respond when the train blew its horn. The eastbound train was going 35-40 mph and couldn't stop in time to avoid hitting Oliver, Sloggie said.

Still visibly distraught about an hour later, the engineer declined to talk to a reporter.

Oliver's body has been sent to the state forensics lab in Richmond for an autopsy, Sloggie said. He declined to speculate on why Oliver might have been sitting on the tracks or why he would have failed to move before the train hit him.

Police are awaiting results of the autopsy and toxicology testing to determine whether alcohol, drugs or other medical problems might have been a factor. Results of toxicology testing can take weeks or months to receive, Sloggie said.


Today it is only 23 degrees out (with the wind-chill it is only about 14) with an expected high of 35 degrees. For the most part, that is how the weather has been all this week. And although it is cold out, there is a warmth in the air in Williamsburg.

For the past week, people have been contacting us to donate blankets, bedding, and warm clothing for the homeless men in our area. I know in the past there have been a few who would leave blankets under the bridge (such as our friend Ann Moore) and others who have wanted to know how they can help. But, they have been only a handful. Typically, people would donate their old clothing and blankets to local thrift shops, where these items would be sold. Or, they would give to a clothing closet that had limits on how many items a person could get on a monthly basis. But this winter it is different. A larger effort within the community is being made to reach out to the homeless. People are more aware of those sleeping in the woods in thin tents with little warmth and no means of heat. People are calling to ask, "Is there anyone else still sleeping under the bridge?" or "How many are left in the woods?" Even recently, a lady from our previous neighborhood called to donate items and said, "I appreciate what you and your husband are doing." Now, that was a shock! People are wanting more information about those who are homeless: Not out of curiosity or criticism, but from their awareness that the homeless society has evolved from the drunks and druggies of the past to everyday people who need a hand up. Few are shocked now when we tell them that 5 of our friends have College Degrees and 3 of those have Masters Degrees.

Two weeks ago when we were running out of food (especially meat), I sent an email out to the churches asking for help. Since we average 140 prepared lunches and dinners on a weekly basis, and provide food for 70 breakfasts, we run out of food fast. Members of different churches and businesses started bringing food in by the loads, donating grocery store gift-cards, and having food drives to help keep us stocked. Not only are people helping to supply food, but some have offered to volunteer by helping to fold/hang clothes that have been donated, preparing food at lunch/dinner, or just being friendly and sharing time with homeless individuals. Now, on top of having our regular dinner guests over to eat, others are wanting to join us as well, so they can share in the friendship we have with the homeless. Now the homeless have been opening up to the friendship, instead of hiding behind the stigma that has been placed on them. The joy of sitting down together to eat as friends is hard to express, but wonderful to experience.

So, again I say, although it is cold out, there is a warmth in the air that is filled with love, friendship, concern, fellowship and kindness.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Typically some of our homeless male friends that we work with come to us with broken spirits, lowered self-esteem and hopelessness. Just as Kevin, aka The Homeless Guy, said, "Homelessness isn't about not having a home. It is about not having hope," we find this to be true with our friends here in Williamsburg. So, society, knowing that many who are on the streets have lost hope, find they are more vulnerable and easier to blame for certain situations. If somebody is homeless and sleeps under a bridge and a person is robbed somewhere in the vicinity of the bridge, it must have been the homeless person who committed the crime. If somebody is homeless and sleeps in an alley near a store and the store is broken into; the homeless person had to be the thief. Remember the lady who ran over a homeless man? Who would miss him since he was homeless? And then there was a story on news radio this past summer about homeless people who were being offered a place to stay by a gentleman and it turned out he was raping and killing them. Who would miss them, they were homeless. They were "invisible".

We, as society, tend to find a person to be worthless because they do not have a home. Is this fair and just? Of course not! There are many people in this world who have committed greater sins than people who live on the street: the drug dealer who sells to children, people who physically abuse others/children, those who molest and prey on children, murderers, animal abusers, terrorists, and the list goes on. We see them regularly throughout our weekly activities at work, school, church, grocery stores and passing by on the streets. Many times they are greeted with a smile, a handshake or a hug. Why are so many of us in society able to embrace a person like those mentioned above, but not somebody who is homeless? Because a person's homelessness is public knowledge. Everyone knows who he or she is and, most of the time, how they became homeless.

Lately, people have been asking, "Aren't you afraid to be around them?" or, "It seems you would prefer to be around a homeless person rather than somebody 'normal'. What is wrong with you?" Why should I be afraid? If I should be afraid of the homeless, then I should be afraid of every person I come in contact with, because we ALL have the potential of becoming homeless. And, in today's society, it is just as hard to unlock the skeletons in a "normal" person's closet, so, should I fear each person I meet? If something is wrong with me because I enjoy the company of a homeless person, because we share much in common, versus a person who is "normal," with whom I may have nothing in common; then so be it. But, I also remind you that Jesus was the most famous homeless person, and I enjoy spending time with Him as well. Should I be looked down upon as being weird? The homeless are also God?s people, and because God?s Son was homeless, does it not make sense that, in order to reach out to Him, we must reach out to the people who are homeless? Jesus reaches out to us when our spirits are broken, when we have lost hope or courage, and He offers safety, rest, and peace in His arms. Then should we not offer the same to a person who has lost hope and courage who is weak from lack of food or sleeping outside on these cold nights, who feel worthless because they do not have a home? Remember, Jesus accepts all of us as we are, even when we are sinful.

People ask me often, ?What can I do? I can't buy them a home.? No, many of us can?t do that, but we all can be friends. Sit down with them over a cup of coffee and talk. Show them they are worth our interest, friendship and care. Why not start today by saying "Hi!" with a smile for each person you pass, homeless or not? WE CAN ALL GIVE THEM HOPE!

For those of you who are interested in meeting and spending time with some of the people with whom we are friends, there is a meeting about "Homelessness in Williamsburg" scheduled for Feb. 21st at 2:00 PM. The location is 212 Lightfoot Rd. (our house) in Williamsburg. We invite you to come expand your horizons and learn what you can do to offer hope to this "hopeless" sector of society. Please, call for directions. Hope to see you here!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Congrats to my niece...I just found out she is pregnant!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

More Updates...

We are in the process of starting a newsletter for the homeless in Williamsburg and people who are wanting to volunteer. This way, those who want to help, will know how or what they can do and those who need the help will know what services we provide.

Baby Demetrius arrived this week into our world, although he was a couple of weeks late. Mommy and Daddy are doing well and very happy but are looking for a small home to rent instead of living in the motel. They haven't been homeless long (and this is the first they have been in this position) but pray they can find somewhere soon. They have applied for Section 8, but were told it would be at least late this year/early next year before something would be available.

In February, we are going to be reading "Purpose Driven Life". Anyone who might have extra copies of the book and would like to donate, please call. We are in need of 15 copies.

Other Updates

As our community is starting to see the beginning of the cold weather set in, my husband and I have had an increase of clients in need to get out of the woods and into a place of warmth. Since yesterday, we have had 4 more men, who for a variety of reasons, need a place to stay. Some have been through referral of United Way, HomeBase, Salvation Army and others from local churches.

As we all know that God provides always in time, we are leaving our prayers of need in His hand through His flock of Christians. God now has brought 15 dinner guest, 10 lunch guest, 15 friends we help to provide warm clothing and find warm places for them to stay. We do go to the local food ministries for help as well, but we have found we are starting to fall short on meat and canned goods (as a matter of fact, we will be out by the end of this weekend.)

But as we find friends who are willing to house somebody in their home for warmth, we have been short on beds and cots we can let them use during their stay. So if you live in the Williamsburg area and have extra cots or twin beds and/or extra food you would like to donate, please call me.
We are still swimming in clothes but at least we are now down to about 20 garbage bags full (which is why I haven't been able to blog lately.) We have had several ministries and shelters come by and pick up clothes for their clients and they all say "When you said you had a lot of clothes to distribute we didn't think you meant this much!" (In all honesty, I didn't realize it would be this much either.) Between today and Monday we have a few more coming to pick up and after that anything that is left will be sent to Eastern Shore migrant workers. But, next time around, I will be more prepared and schedule for people to pick up as soon as we get in. Turns out this will be a bi-monthly trip to get clothing from the ministry in SC.

Sunday, January 04, 2004


1) God 2) New Clothes 3) Large Moving Truck

Tuesday night, a little late than I prefer, my cell phone rang. I recognized it was a call from SC, but I didn't recognize the number. "Hi Mrs. McKenzie this is Hamilton. I bet you don't remember me but..." I interrupted his greeting "Oh yes, I do remember you and your wife. We met you at Churchbuilders. How is your ministry? What can I do for you?" (Ok, a little rude, but I was very tired and trying to finish cooking dinner.) Well, it turned out to be "What I can do for you" he said "We have just been blessed with 2 storage units filled with new clothing from a store that closed down and we would like to share our blessing and see if you would have a need for clothing in Williamsburg?" I thought for a second because my husband was asleep so I couldn't talk to him about it yet, but everyone could use some clothing, especially new.

"Can you guarantee me some ladies' larger sizes?" I asked. OK so here is where I have to back up 15 minutes prior to his phone call. Earlier I had received a phone call from a secretary at a local church. I had called her that day to see if she knew of any families in need of coffee makers. We had received an overflow that day of new coffeemakers and after I had taken several to people in the weekly motels, I still had several left. Typically the secretary and I don't get much time to talk, but since she was calling so late into the evening, we chatted about God and the scriptures and people's needs for a couple of hours. Before she hung up, she said "I have a need, but hadn't wanted to bother you...most people assume since I work at a church, I make a lot of money and don't need anything. But, since I am a larger size woman, my needs tend to cost more than I can afford. Do you think you could find me a coat and some warm boots? I usually wear jeans to work because I don't have much money left over to buy anything nice to wear and I would like to start dressing more appropriate." This question led to her talking about her life in the past and we found we had a lot in common. She now rents a small bedroom at a person's home and it is basically all she can afford. "What about gloves. If you don't have a coat, do you need gloves as well? I will call around and see what I can do tomorrow. I can get a very nice discount at a coat outlet store so let me see what they have."

Almost as soon as we hung up, that is when Hamilton called. So to me this was a blessing. An answer to a lady's need. "Yes, I have men, women and children clothing in all sizes. I can get you a size 20 in women's." "Yes then, my husband and I can drive his truck down and pick up some clothes this weekend." I told him. Hamilton started laughing. "No Patti. I don't think you understand. We were given about 6000 square feet of clothing. I need to empty one of the storage units, not just put a dent in it. I am talking about a 17' truck of clothing boxed up. Your husband's truck would not hold all that." At this point I couldn't imagine 6000-sq. ft. of clothing, let alone how much a Uhaul of that size could hold. All I knew is that it was a blessing. I told him I needed to talk with my husband and I would call him back.

Wow, God always finds a way to provide. I was excited and overwhelmed. During dinner I told Geoff and we decided we would go Sun. after church. After dinner I looked up on the Internet for the cost of a Uhaul that size. My heart sank. It would be $328 for the truck and then at least a $100 for gas. I had to pray about this. The next morning I did what God tells us to do: "ask and you shall receive." I called the lady at the church that has the need and explained the blessing and dilemma. She asked her pastor and he said "I will give $100 toward the expense." So then I called another church we work with and they gave $100. And another gave $50.

Uh oh. I just thought of another dilemma. What do I do with all those clothes? Yes, we need some for the people we work with, but not THAT much. When you are given a blessing, you should share it with others. So I started calling the local agencies. Salvation Army here doesn't have a clothing closet and FISH is full of clothing they said. So now what? I called the outreach ministries and a few said they would need some. Then I called HomeBase in Newport News area. "Oh we were going to call you. We have somebody who needs help and we can't find anyone to help him." "OK but I need help now as well" and I explained our situation. "Yes we need clothes! We will gladly come get a car or two full. I want to give you $20 to help with the cost!"

So here we are. Today after devotions Geoff and I leave to go to SC to pick up a truck and come home tomorrow. I still haven't found a home for as much as we will be bringing, but I will call the other shelters in Richmond, Hampton, Suffolk and elsewhere to see if we can share the wealth. If we can't find people to help dwindle down the boxes, I will start searching in the surrounding States at shelters. I can't afford to ship them, but if people want to bring a car, they are welcomed to some clothes. If you are in the Greater Va. Penninsula area, work with the homeless and are in need of clothes please email me at helpthehomeless@cox.net

Saturday, January 03, 2004

I have so much to blog about, but for tonight, until I catch up, I want to blog about our activities tonight. Actually it is going on as I type. The first Sat. of each month, we do kareoke at our home. It is open to the public, but mostly for the homeless. We try to have activities that many people enjoy, but without the 'bar enviroment.' It is a way to help them see they can have fun without the alcohol.

Tonight we have 6 friends that came over to join us. Domino's donated a few pizza for us for the night and thus far we are having a great time! We are hoping by next month we will have more people join us, but until then....we just keep singing.