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, September 29, 2004


Last week I tried on several occassions to blog, but I was in bed sick with 'fluish' symptoms. So I'm sorry things have been a little behind. Last Thursday was an AWESOME food ministry day! We had 65 families (which was about 275 people in all), gave out about 4000 lbs of food and 40 Bibles. God was great (but I was a little nervous since it was a big increase in just 6 weeks.)

Friday night was movie night. We showed Left Behind I and II back to back. Saturday we took 15 'friends' to Busch Gardens for the day. God sent an angel to us who gave us 67 free tickets for Busch Gardens. We felt so blessed that we shared many tickets with churches that had members who typically wouldn't have the opportunity to go due to the expense and also gave tickets to families in the weekly motels. It was such a blast and a well needed break for us. We have lived here almost 2 years (as of this Friday) and could never afford to go to the well known theme park. Although I don't do rides, I did frightfully enjoy the Hallow-Scream activities. Also, it gave me a chance to start on my documentary I am doing, "The Homeless In Williamsburg:Walk A Mile In Their Shoes." We have a couple of leds on people who may help me edit and mass produce it.

The documentary will be shown at W&M during their Homeless and Hunger Awareness week this November. So far I have 4 people who are homeless that have agreed to be interviewed, 2 service providers and 2 people with big hearts for the homeless. Basically, other than the interviews, I am planning on showing aspects of Williamsburg that everyone sees such as CW area, the theme parks and the shopping and then go into what most don't see: the woods and other areas where the homeless sleep. These areas are known around here by many, but rarely visited. We will be selling the videos for $5.00 to help raise money for the benefit of the homeless.

We had a great blessing today at the Foodbank when we went to get food for our ministry tomorrow! Rarely do they have a lot of leftover fresh bread by the time we arrive. But, today there was a lot! They said we could take as much as we wanted so we got 145 English Muffin packages, 132 Bagel packages and 169 loaves of bread. Then one of the workers said "Patti, I have a bargain for you! Follow me." I'm thinking "Ya right" but I went to see. He pointed to 4 pallets of sodas "They are all yours for free, but you have to take them now." WOW, we started loading the truck. Basically it was over 800 cans. THANK YOU GOD! I was a little concern yesterday and prayed that God would find a way to save us money, yet still be able to provide for the food ministry. And today we were given a $175 at least of free products (which in the grocery store would be about $700 - 1000 dollars.)

I'm excited to see what AWESOME things God does tomorrow!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

OK So The Homeless Are Ungrateful, but...

I figured this headline would get you're attention. So now that I have it, I want to expand on what I wanted to say. Most people feel the homeless (sometimes myself included) are ungrateful, selfish, users (in many ways), self-centered, ungodly, poor, rebellious, angered, resentful, uneducated, drunks, addicts, and out-right not worth the effort! But, I wonder, aren't we all like that at times? Many times we can be worse. But, shouldn't there be hope for all of us? Not just those who can afford to live, but those who are living and trying to afford life? Think about it?! What decides the difference between those who have homes and those whom don't? Is it a house? Definately not! A house is not a home until your heart is there, so I will ask this
"Where is your heart?"

Saturday, September 18, 2004

2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 9-10 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

God worked a miracle this past Thursday! Even though we were short handed with volunteers, He gave us the energy to make it through the increase of people and their needs. My two best friends, Sheila Simon and Susan Cooke, were back for another day of service. One of our friends from church, Alicia Roark also joined the efforts and gave her day to do the work of the Lord. (She had a blast by the way, dancing and singing the way through.)

Our 5th Thursday, God brought 37 families (which was made up of a total of 135 people.) A total of 2550 lbs was distributed during the 2 hours (and 2 families the day after.) The breakdown of weight was: 1220 lbs of meat, 320 lbs of can goods, 250 lbs of Bread/Pasta/Cereal, 186.5 lbs of Milk/Soda, 78.5 lbs of Dried Beans, 1055 lbs of Pasta Sauce, 40 lbs of Misc (Crackers, Snacks, etc.) and 350 lbs of fresh Veggies & Fruits. Sister Sheila led the opening prayer and counseled with a needy person. This Thursday was AMAZING because instead of me asking people if they had a Bible or needed one, new people to the food ministry were saying "We hear you have Bibles! May I have one?" It seemed more people were waiting in line for God's Word than food at times!

I was so amazed at the Awesomeness at the end of the day, it truly strengthened my faith and ended with a good tears of joy in praise of God's work!

Praise God!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

a letter given to me from a lady and her fiance' that has become our friends ( I did not edit it for she wanted it to be hers)

My Name Is Theresa and I Am Homeless

My name is Theresa and my fiance' and I am homeless. No we are not from this area, but came down from New Jersey, thinking it would be less expensive to live here and get a job for a short while so we could make it back to Florida where our relatives live. We stayed at a couple of shelters in NN, but couldn't get work due to not having ID's. So we wer told to come to Williamsburg, since there is more work here available. WE WALKED the whole way with no money, nor food. When we first arrived, we slept behind out on the streets for a short time until we were told to move. Unfortunately, we found out there are no shelters here. In the rain, we slept out behind buildins and looked for jobs in the daytime. Anything that could get us some money for food and maybe a bus ticket or hotel room for the night.

We callled Red Cross and they said to call United Way. We called United Way and they said to call Salvation Army. We couldn't get a room, food nor a bus ticket and were told by them "Go back to where you came from, there are no shelters here or help we can give you!" Alone, tired and hungry, we met a man at Food Lion who said "I know this lady who can help you. Call Patti." and gave us her phone number. We called her and without question, she sent a car for us so we could shower, eat and rest as she search for people to help us with bus tickets to get to Florida, where our family is.

Neither of us drink, do drugs or steal from anyone, as a matter of fact, we are both Christian. We have just been down on our luck and was willing to work for any help we could get.

There may not be a shelter here in Williamsburg, but there is an angel that God sent to this area (read her testimony, I did.) We just want to thank God for the man who told us about her, God for her being here and Patti for taking us in to give us a night of rest, a shower, food, a friend and the bus tickets God provided.

If you ever want to know how much she helps (mostly on her own,) to provide (although I found out fast it was her money she used with subsidies from churches,) go visit one day and see how many times the phone rings or how long she spends with a person just needing a friend or the great food they give or the wonderful times with God she shares with people and you will learn quickly to love her as a person of God. If you doubt her, spend a day with her. If you are aginst her efforts, sit down with her (and she will feed you.) If you want to help, call her. If you don't believe in angels, then you don't know what God sent to Williamsburg!

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Yeah we are finally connected intranet/internet throughout our home and for the food ministry! Thanks Keith for all you did!!!!!
A Letter I Received


I just felt a need to take a moment to Thank You for the love and care you are showing to the community.

My name is Tammie and I am a single mother of 3, struggling to make ends meat while I further my education.

This is my final year in school and well I am so happy that there are people such as you that are so willing to understand that everyone needs a hand from time to time.

There are times such as Birthdays and Holidays where I get so very sad that I can not do for children, what other parents are able to.

My daughter's 5th birthday is in September and I have no extra money for a gift for her. So I prayed and the Lord told me to set aside my grocery money for her gift and He will make sure we are fed.

Then I received your flyer and not only food was provided, but hair cuts as well. He is AWESOME!

So in return I am offerringmy services to anyone with whom you work with in need for tutoring for their GED. To me, my offer is minute in comparision to the wonderful heartfelt work you do.

Once again, Thank You!
It's A God Thing

Tuesday night I was talking with one of our homeless friends about his life. He's been frustrated with living in the woods or in motels and just wants a small apartment. His frustration has turned into anger because he has the money for a place (actually a lot saved up from his Disability Checks) yet he couldn't find anywhere that would accept him due to poor credit. He didn't want anything fancy, not a lot of 'stuff' piled into his place and not around a lot of people (like a big apartment complex.) I agreed that he didn't need a lot of 'stuff' weighing him down at the moment. Instead of dishes, paper plates and cup; instead of a major vacuum system a broom and so forth. Just the basics to start off with. He needed to adjust to having a place after so many years. After our talk, he grabbed a bite to eat and made his way back to where he sleeps.

The next morning Geoff said "Hey there is a place in the paper that is perfect for him!" So I called and it was still available. After explaining the situation to the person renting the efficiency, our friend showed up to do some work so I gave him the phone to speak with his future landlord. An appointment was set to look at it an hour later. Shortly after hanging up the phone, the phone rang again. It was our friend's Mom to tell us about the same place. "Sorry it is already taken because we saw the ad as well and called. Your son has agreed to meet the lady and sign a lease." We both agreed this was God working in her son's life.

Once the lease was signed and payments made, we found a sleeper couch for him and gave him a nice new hanging clock we had. Geoff and him went to pick up all his important 'stuff' (that he calls his homeless box), his microwave and TV from his parents and mstarted to move in to his new home.

Yes, God is Awesome and this was truly a God thing!

Day of Caring

The United Way's Day of Caring started off hectic for me. We signed up for 4 projects and had to get several people to their destinations. Now this doesn't sound too hard, but our participants were people who are homeless (with the exception of my friend Ann and a W&M student.) So while everyone else was gathering tools and paint brushes, I rushed off with Will (W&M student) and Linda (a homeless friend of ours) and we went to the kickoff event for our care packages. Will and Linda were going over to the Respite Care Center and left with their goodies. I rushed back home to help get the rest of the helpers together and off to their destinations. I had planned on going with 3 of the guys to United Way to help set up for the celebration that night and my biggest responsibility was to get pizzas for lunch for the crew that afternoon.

Then my day turned into a nightmare!I went to get something out of our jeep and I yelled out to my husband "Where's the Jeep?" Within minutes we realized it had been stolen during the night! So now all our plans changed. Geoff took the 2 crews and dropped them off while another friend of ours took the guys to United Way. And I called the police. Other than spending almost my whole day with the police and making phone calls, I at least was able to provide the pizzas I promised.

While volunteers handle the food minstry that afternoon, I finally made it over to United Way for their dinner and celebration. That was very enjoyable. I had the opportunity to speak for a couple of minutes (thanks Zena) because I thought it was important to recognize the work and kindness our homeless friends provided that day. Many people think that the homeless do nothing to help the community, but at least 8 of our friends helped others in need on the Day of Caring.
W&M Volunteer Fair

The W&M Volunteer Fair was a great success for us and a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing the excitment of the students running around to find that one special program to help out. The first few minutes for us were a little slow and then wham! our table was surrounded. Hadyn called my cell about that time and I told her I couldn't talk because I had 9 students wanting information about how they could help the homeless. Within minutes she came flying in the building (from her dorm) to help me out. She is such a blessing in our life!

Other than wanting to assist with the homeless, I think our big anchor is kareoke night that we do at our house twice a month. The students enjoy coming out to sing.

The only disappointment of the night was the fact I didn't get to say hi to Gabe. I saw him at one point talking to the head of the volunteer department and then he was gone. But, by the end of the fair, we had 34 signatures from students wanting to help! Praise God.
Homeless Times

Well I finally took the time out to do a newsletter for the homeless and what's going on around here. This was inspired for a Volunteer Fair I went to at W&M on Wednesday night. I wanted to be able to give a handout that would answer some of the questions I commonly get asked. So (although this isn't the appeance of the newsletter), here is the info.

WHI's Food Ministry

No, Williamsburg does not have a famine occurring. But there are several families in our area that go hungry weekly, cut back on other important expenses to buy food, or pray for assistance from other resources. Are there enough resources in our area? In my opinion, no! So, other than my computer being up and down due to being hit during one of our storms, we have been busy preparing for God latest gift: to help provide food, at our expense, to people in the Lightfoot, Croaker, Toano, and Norge area.

The people we are trying to reach out most to are the Latino residents in our area. In the past, the language barrier has been a problem. By God's grace, we know several people who can assist in translating for us, my husband being one of them.

What makes this ministry differ from many others we have seen? Weekly, we will have Pastors, Deacons, and Christian Counselors on hand in case somebody needs a person to speak with for guidance or if they are going through a crisis at the moment other than a lack of food. Also, we were given a $500 grant from the International Bible Society and ordered enough Bibles (and pocket New Testaments) to have on hand for people who are visually challenged ( large print Bibles), or speak Spanish. Also, once a month, Becky Gordon, a hairdresser at Hair Cuttery, will provide free haircuts for our 'friends'.

August 19th was our first day of providing food (for the Lord) to people. We served 6 families (which totalled 26 people.) A total of 350 lbs. was distributed during the 2 hours. Each family received 4 nights' worth of meat, canned goods, breakfast and sandwich bread, dried milk, 5 lbs. of potatoes and corn. The meats consisted of packages of bacon, hot dogs with buns, an 8 lb. bag of rock fish, pork sausage rolls, and pasta with pasta sauce. We also gave out 20 Bibles, children toys and books.

August 26th, God brought 24 families (which totalled 93 people). A total of 1400 lbs. was distributed during the 2 hours. The breakdown of weight was: 400 lbs. of meat, 187 lbs. of canned goods, 300 lbs. of Bread/Pasta/Potatoes, 60 lbs. of Milk/Soda, 62.5 lbs. of Dried Beans, 87.5 lbs. of Pasta Sauce, 13 lbs. of Misc. (Crackers, Snacks, etc.). We also gave out 13 Bibles and 20 Salvation tracts.
God blessed us with a 128% increase from August 19th to August 26th in serving the Latino population in Williamsburg.

September 2nd was fewer families than the week before, but still we served 13 families which consisted of 52 people. Overall we gave out 725 lbs. of food. The greatest of news was that 13 children received free haircuts for "Back To School Haircut" day.
Genesis 43:4
If thou wilt send our brother with us,
we will go down and buy thee food

Also, our Bibles arrived! We now have Bibles in English and Spanish. New tracts came in as well on anxiety, addiction and forgiveness.

Our Monthly Schedule

1st & 3rd Saturday: Karaoke Night
7:00 - 10:00 PM
2nd & 4th Friday: Movie Night
8:00 PM
Every Thursday: Food Ministry
4:00 - 6:00 PM
Every Sunday: Strongholds Class
2:00 - 4:00 PM
4:00 - 5:00 PM

What's A Blessing If You Can't Pass It On To Others In Need?

Since March 2003, I have been asked the same question over and over, "Where does the money come from that you use to help others in need?" Even though I have answered this question time and time again, it seems people don't listen or else they don't like the answer I give them. For whatever reason, people would like to hear that we are given money through donations and the kindness of a person's heart. Actually, I would like to think that as well, but the truth be told (once again,) donations of money are rare in our ministry.

So where does the money come from? For the most part, my pocket and God. Why do I say God? Because He blessed me with an incredibly loving Step-Father when I was 12 years old. At the age of 21, my "Dad" passed away and had included me in his Estate. From that time on, I was somewhat self-sufficient. I bought my own house, paid my own bills and still always had money left over.

So basically, each quarter of the year, I spend $9,000.00 out of pocket to help others. This breaks down to, in the past year+, a total of $36,000.00 out of pocket and $2500.00 donated from people in the community. But what it truly comes down to is that you can not be blessed with a gift from God, without blessing others.
Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

Our Monthly Average Income & Expenses

Expenses: Monthly Average

Housing Cost We Help With
Rent $1,000.00
Electric $715.00
Phone $250.00
Food $1,350.00
Totals $3,315.00

Gas $175.00
Bus Tokens $35.00
Totals $210.00

OTMC Fee $50.00
Medication $500.00
Totals $550.00

Postage $37.00
Stationery supplies $125.00
Paper products Etc. $100.00
Totals $262.00

Total Expenses $4,337.00

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Yes, I have finally talked with my sister and she is safe! Also, a couple of 'friends' (aka homeless people)also had family in Florida and today they were able to talk with them as well. God is Amazing in all that He can do, especially His protection!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Hooters: Feeding the Hungry?
by Hadyn Rickett, DSJ Staff Reporter

Did the word Hooters in the title catch your attention? It must have, because you’re still reading. Is it likely that this article will attract even more people to the restaurant, thus fulfilling an unintentional goal instead of the one I had planned? Probably.

My problem isn’t really with Hooters. I mean, jobs for beautiful, buxom coeds are hard to come by these days. Who I’m disappointed with is the Williamsburg community for ignoring the real needs of citizens. The Williamsburg and James City county area, as it expands and caters to its affluent population, raises the cost of housing at the expense of an overwhelming food insecure population.

Food insecurity is defined as
“the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.”
Food insecure Americans often utilize food banks, defined by the USDA as
“distribution centers that provide groceries and other basic supplies,”
in order to achieve food security. Other area services include food pantries and food ministries.

According to local food bank operators, causes of increased food bank usage include the area’s high housing costs, seasonality of local employment, the low wages of many retail and service jobs, and welfare reform.

What is difficult to understand is why, when the local food pantry Helping Hands is closing in the next few weeks, Williamsburg did not take over where the 2003 United Way Cruikshank award-winning organization left off. Williamsburg possesses a visible food insecure population, with the local United Way referring about 350 local residents to food pantries per month in 2003. The four major food pantries in Williamsburg VA—Operation Hope, Helping Hands, FISH, and Grove Christian Outreach—serve on average 300-400 families a month. Helping Hands, not even the largest local food bank, donated over 425,000 pounds of food alone in 2003. With over ten local food pantries, Williamsburg possesses a substantial local Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS), attracting not only local patrons but also people from neighboring counties and cities including Newport News, Gloucester, and Charles City County.

Helping Hands was able to feed so many clients because it was in a central location, close to the places of business where food insecure clients could walk over and pick up their necessary bags of food after leaving work. Now, the two closest food pantries are FISH and the new WHI food ministry. They are both about three miles from the center of Williamsburg, and remarkably well-hidden. In a recent study conducted by William and Mary graduate John Gibney, transportation remains a big hindrance as 48.5% of respondents to a survey lacked access to a working car, truck, or motorcycle.

The addition of a Hooters will not provide many jobs for those who are most in need of them. The environment gives little opportunity for advancement, because all waitresses are likely to be, as I said before, W&M students. Meanwhile, keeping low-income employees in the low-wage jobs means they must spend an hour’s wages of their paycheck just taking the bus to one of the food pantries to make ends meet.

What can be done about this? Clearly if there is a space for a Hooters near Colonial Williamsburg, there is a place for a food pantry or ministry there as well. For those who protest that a food pantry would besmirch the quaint, quiet nature of the area, those Hooters t-shirts aren’t really helping either. William & Mary students, so dedicated and willing to offer a hand in community volunteer service projects, are prevented from seeing the full picture of Williamsburg if food pantries and ministries are inaccessible to their assistance. Williamsburg has a tradition of service and a responsibility to the needs of its citizens, no matter what their income level. If not, Hooters might be all that is left of Colonial Williamsburg. I hope the waitresses will know where to find the food pantries and ministries then.

Hadyn Rickett is a staff writer for the DSJ. Her views do not necessarily represent those of the entire staff.