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."

Friday, January 23, 2004


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.


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