Saturday, February 20, 2010


Mission Statement

The mission of the Home Van is to bring food, clothing, blankets, hygiene supplies and other services to the unsheltered homeless people of the downtown Gainesville area. There are no tests of worth to receive services from the Home Van. We believe that all people are worthy of the necessities of life. We work in partnership with those we serve, for the higher purpose of making our world a more human and loving place.

The HOME Van provides the following services:

· 400 meals a week to homeless people – delivered on Tuesday’s
at 7p.m. and Thursday’s at 4:30 p.m.

· blankets, hygiene products, clothing and other necessities of life for poor and homeless people

· Friendship and personal assistance from volunteer social workers, nurses, lawyers, and chaplains.



Might as well get this topic over with upfront. Despite vast and successful efforts, by Joe Jackson and others, to rally the community in support of dropping meal limits, the City Commission voted to keep those limits except on 3 holidays a year. All but about five of the many people who spoke during Citizen Comment gave compelling testimony in favor of dropping the limits. Joe and his crew did everything right, we had big support, and we lost anyhow. We have, however, became a major burr in the backsides of the Powers That Be, and we need to keep going. It is always like this. Many years ago I and my little buddies stood on a street corner in Norman, Oklahoma, and sold cookies to raise Grayhound busfares to Missisippi for Freedom Summer, while thugs in pickup trucks hurled insults and beer cans at us. It was a long and bloody summer. The road ahead seemed to stretch on forever, and enormous powers were aligned against us.

You keep working for the good and eventually you win. Winning doesn't mean just dropping meal limits. It means establishing, for all times, the principle that it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their economic status. It means you can't ghettoize poor people in a compound out on 53rd Avenue, next to two cement plants and a swamp. It means that all members of the human family are invited to the table.

I'll keep you posted on further actions.


Lee, the young man who was almost beaten to death out at the Williston Road Camp, is back in North Carolina at his mother's house, and is doing well in his recovery. This was a love triangle turned deadly. Such tragedies happen in all economic strata. One issue that needs to be addressed, after food and shelter issues, is identifying people who are arrested as "homeless," while not so identifying those who are housed. Until sometime in the sixties, African Americans who were arrested were identified by race, and no one else was. Logically, this should have made people think, "Gee, most crimes are committed by white people." Of course it didn't. These arrest reports served as red flags for racism. So it is with the arrests of homeless people. So far, we don't know of any repercussions from the crime at Williston Road Camp, and are praying that there will be none. Willston Road is a long-established camp with a solid track record for stability and good behavior.


to all of you who donated Mylar blankets! Consider yourself people who have saved lives. We have, knock on wood, gone through this long and terrible winter with no tent fires, no fires in abandoned houses, and no hypthermia deaths. They do tear, but thanks to you all I have had an unending supply. On every driveout I carry a bag of these mylars and the homeless folks ask for them. One night a couple of the Lynch Parkers, who slept out in 30-degree weather, told me, "We felt like baked potatoes." That became my advertising slogan to all those who regarded the mylars with suspicion.

Love and blessings to all of you,

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The Home Van needs peanut butter, jelly, Vienna sausages, white tube socks, candles, tarps and tents. Call 372-4825 to arrange for drop-offs. Financial donations to the Home Van are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to St. Vincent de Paul, earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601 Donations can also be made online at

Friday, February 5, 2010