Saturday, November 6, 2010



I encourage all of you, regardless of your political persuasions, to go on YouTube and listen to the short speech Jon Stewart made at the end of the Rally for Sanity on the Capitol Mall. He was calling for an end to media-driven hatred, paranoia and suspicion against ANYONE - Tea Partiers, Tax and Spend Liberals, minorities, immigrants, Muslims and, as the old song goes "Baptists and Buddhists and Jews." Before a montage of cars driving down a highway - people of all kinds driving home to face their marriages, kids, bills, crabgrass - whatever it is - he encouraged us to see each other as human beings with much in common and not to demonize - from the right or the left - ANYONE. Amen.

I have noticed over my seven decades of life that there is always at least one official Bogeyperson who is going to end life as we know it. In grade school I sat in front of the TV and watched the Army-McCarthy hearings. Then it was Communists who were going to destroy us. It's always someone. Maybe Muslims or homeless people or residents of low-income housing. None of these groups have ever destroyed us and none of them are likely to if we can learn how to love other people as we love ourselves, get to know each other, and search for common ground.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is a two-hundred year old Catholic organization with a long history of accepting everyone - of all faiths or no faith - as volunteers. The only rule is you have to be Catholic to be an officer, which is a nice break for non-Catholics who aren't fond of going to meetings, taking notes, and balancing books.

One of the things I appreciate most about the SVDP/Home Van family is our diversity and the fact that we have made some real progress in bringing the homeless community and the housed community together. Three of our five sandwich volunteers are homeless people and several of our outreach workers, who bring crises and special situations to our attention, and even oversee the distribution of valued donations, like tents, to make sure they are going to those who need them most and won't sell them. Many different groups from the community have joined us at the plaza for our driveouts and spent time hanging out schmoozing with our folks.

Recently two new groups are joining up with the Home Van family. First, Nkwandah Jah and her Environmental Ambassadors - a group of children who do service in the community. The Ambassadors are conducting a drive for donations, which they will bring to our Home Van Christmas Party, Thursday, December 23, at 5:45 p.m. in the little parking lot on the south side of the Civil Courthouse, right next to the Bo Diddley Plaza. Second, the Metropolitan Community Church. The Metropolitans have been making quilts for homeless people, and plan further efforts to gather useful donations.

As I mentioned last time, all of you are invited to our Christmas party. We have a lot of new people in the homeless community, some who have never been homeless before. They are scared and they need friends (a lot of us are have been scared and needed friends - you know how it is). This brings me to another necessary topic. Most of us have taken a pretty good hit in this economy, so here it is:


The Dollar Stores around town are a great source of stocking stuffers - candles, reading glasses, candy bars, playing cards, socks - for five dollars you can buy a whole bunch of great stuff. Also, garage sales! Paperback books, little stuffed animals, costume jewelry - make a great stocking for a dollar or two. Also, since we're having folks bring the stockings directly to the party, they can contain perishable presents like cookies and oranges.
In that regard, if you are planning to bring holiday stockings to the party, drop me an email and let me know that you are coming and how many stockings you plan to bring with you. If you would like to make stockings but have no way of getting them to the party, also let me know and I'll make special arrangements with you. I need to know that we are going to have at least between 200-300 stockings, so everyone gets one and I have a few leftover for the hermits out in the woods.

Thank you for all the Mylar blankets. We handed out more than a hundred last night!

Peace and blessings to one and all,


The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, mylar emergency blankets, games. Call 352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at

Free Poem - included in the cost of the newsletter!

Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in the soul,
and sings the song without the words,
and never stops at all.

-Emily Dickinson

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