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."

Monday, February 23, 2004


*I met Patti, through a mutual friend, in 1993. At the time, she had just come out of an abusive marriage and was working as an exterminator, maintaining government housing, to help a friend's short staffed company for the summer. During her time at the company, on many occasions, she would take extra food and clothes to families that were struggling. Patti at the time suffered from asthma and had one of the home breathing treatment machines. At one of the lower standard housing apartments, she ran into an elderly man, who also suffered from asthma, but couldn't afford the medicine or machine. That weekend, while Patti and I were out for lunch, she stopped by the man's apartment and gave him her machine. As she told me "I can buy another one, he can't afford one in the first place."

As our friendship grew, I watch Patti exhibit many acts of kindness, helping people in need. Sometimes myself included. When I had first met Patti, I had very little skill training and few goals for life. I had a heavy alcohol and drug habit, yet Patti never turned me away when I needed a friend. Patti always tried to encourage me to better my life and to break away from my habits, but even when I had no food in my house, she would show up with bags of groceries.

At some point during our friendship, Patti moved into a condo on Main St. She was working in sales at a local computer company and had a coffee house at night, for bands trying to make a start. At the computer store where Patti was working, on a few occasions, she was known to help less fortunate families purchase computers for their children. One day when I stopped by to see her on her day off, she was making a large pot of soup. Shortly after, several men showed up at her door and we passed out bowls of food and drinks. While they sat on her front steps and ate, I asked Patti about her new guests. She explained they were the few men on the streets who couldn't get into the local shelters and soup kitchens for help because they didn't have an id. On occasions, Patti and another friend, Dawn would take a few men at a time to get id's, so they could get places to sleep at the shelters and jobs at our local job corps. Because they didn't have a residence, they used Patti's mailing address for the id and weekly would pick up their paychecks. Even though she was working 2 jobs, she always made sure the men had food and left pillows and blankets on her front steps for them to sleep.

She has dedicated much of her time, not just helping the homeless, but also her friends. When our friend, Dawn found out she had breast cancer and didn't have insurance, Patti helped to pay for her medications and food. Several years ago, when she found out a professional married couple she was friends with was in dire straits and about to lose their medical business, Patti quit her job and went to work in their dental office, at no pay. That summer, she covered the weekly paycheck of their hygienist for several weeks and paid for a trip out west for her bosses when she discovered her mother was very sick in the hospital. Two Christmas' ago, their car broke down and was beyond repair. Since Patti was planning on buying a new car, she took her old vehicle, with the title signed over to them with a card saying "Merry Christmas." When Patti received money from her deceased mother's estate, she bought several computers for families that were low-income, helped a few of her friends pay off debts, including myself, so they could get back on their feet and then did things for herself.

Two years ago, when she found out the Salvation Army in Greenville, was low on resources, she dropped off over 20 bags of women's clothing and went around to the local doctors for supplies to be donated to the women's shelter. When her maid, which she hired from the women's shelter, was ready to move into an affordable duplex and out of the shelter, Patti and Geoff met with the landlord to assist with the deposit, first month's rent and utilities. She supplied her with linen, furniture and food.

Never has she asked for anything in return. Nor has she demanded change from people, even if she didn't approve of somebody's behavior. She never pushed anyone in her beliefs and love for God, but would share with everyone how He has helped her. These are only a sample of the different actions I have witnessed from Patti. Her kindness and actions there is nothing different than how she was here in SC.

As of today, I have been clean from drugs and alcohol abuse. I have turned my life over to God. And I serve in the military overseas in the war against Iraq. All of this with Patti always unconditionally accepting me of how I was and how I am now.*

*My name is Ramona and I have been a friend of Patti's for over six years. It doesn't surprise me that she's helping the homeless in Williamsburg. I know she did a lot of that here and she's always been the first to try to help someone when they're down. Although I never went with her on one of her "runs", there was usually some evidence in the car-packages of styrofoam cups, bottled water, remnants of bulk- sized danishes or sandwiches, you could usually find something in the van. And, many times she has helped me out. Especially after I had my twin girls and my husband left me. She supplied most of my babies needs, whether it was formula, diapers, clothing, toys, baby's first Bible, money when I had none for rent or food for myself.

I am also an acquaintance of Cathey's, through Patti. Many times we would both tell her to stop giving her money away to help others (especially if we felt some were using her.) But, she would always come back with "If we all gave the extra we had to help others, one day we could wipe out poverty. Too many people need help and I was blessed with the extra money to do it and still survive on my own."

It always kind of amazed me how someone could get so much done while also trying to run a business, work a second job at no pay, deal with fibromyalgia, cervical dysplasia and has never complain. (Well, not a lot anyway.) She does have her moments when she is down due to illness. Yet, before she would ever take care of herself, she would always make sure others are cared for, replying "God will take care of me. It isn't who, how or why I could die, but it would be God's timing and nobody can stop that." Patti just deals with the situation and moves on like there's nothing to it! If anyone can get the homeless program together in Williamsburg, Patti can. Once she sets her mind on something, look out! It will be accomplished. She's just that way. I appreciate her presence in my life so much as many others in the past have as well; Williamsburg is blessed to have her.

I hope this helps to answer others' questions about her in Williamsburg.*


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