Sunday, February 20, 2011



Hello! You haven’t heard much from me over the winter. It has been a winter of two Home Van computer crashes and a lot of work.
Winter is always a bleak time for homeless people and those who serve them, but we have never, in our nine years of working the streets, seen a winter as harrowing as this one. It’s also been hard times for many in the housed community. I don’t think anything is gained by sending out one Dickensian newsletter after another. It disempowers people, including me. I take it one day at a time and don’t spend a lot of time looking at the big picture or the long-range prospects. Fortunately, there are courageous souls who work with the big picture and the long-range. For us, it’s who gets to eat today, or get their prescription filled, or have a candle to read by during the long, cold nights.

You blessed souls continue to support our mission even during times of silence. Once again we have made it through a hard winter without losing anyone to hypothermia, in part because of the steady donating of mylar blankets.

We received very large book donations this fall, and ongoing donations from Haven Hospice Attic, and that was certainly a blessing. Nina likes to read romances where Broderick, of the cleft jaw, courts the lovely Desiree. Joe wants a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. Nick wants anything by Michael Crichton. Melvin is into weighty tomes on history and politics. No problem – we have had it all. At each stop people pull the book box out of the van and start going through it – giving each other reviews of the books they’ve already read. Kim hugged her book and says, “This takes me into a different world.”


I am declaring the next 30 days DUCT TAPE AND BATTERIES MONTH at the Home Van. We need rolls of duct tape to be donated, so people can repair their tents. We can never get too many battery donations. Batteries for flashlights and radios make a huge difference in quality of life for people living in the woods. Light. Music. Voices.

Also, if any of you are visited by the Money Elf – we need tents. Tents that are donated go to the most vulnerable people, with ‘vulnerable’ defined as pregnant, elderly, or disabled. We never have enough even for these groups. Lately there has been an influx of very young adults into the homeless community. They can’t find work. They ask for tents with scared, amazed faces: “I have nowhere to go at night.” If any of you can have a tent drive at your church or other organization???


It was wonderful last Thursday to stand around with the Williston Road campers, basking in the sun and watching Sheba peel an egg. (Most dogs will eat an egg shell and all. Sheba peels her egg – quick and delicate of paw.)

Thank you Creator, for Spring.

love and blessings to all of you,

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________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