Friday, May 4, 2012


There hasn’t been a lot of news on the Home Van front. We’re mainly hauling water and dealing with individual crises. Some months back “Curt” at the Williston Road Camp was turned down for hernia surgery. A few weeks ago we arrived out there and Curt stumbled down the fire trail and almost fell into me, whispering, “Help me!” The hernia had ruptured. Standing next to me was Joe Jackson, who was named Homeless Advocate of the Year by the Florida Bar Association a few years back. I asked Joe to take Curt to the ER and advocate for him. By the time we got downtown the word had spread that it was Joe Jackson himself who took Curt to the hospital this time! He was in surgery in less than two hours. Curt and his friends are devout Christians and saw this timing - the presence of Joe to help Curt - as God reaching down to help one of his children. There was much rejoicing. Then last week one of our homeless helpers came to us downtown and said there was a woman with two children and a newborn baby sitting on the sidewalk in front of St. Francis House. Liz immediately went down there and found two mothers and eight children on the sidewalk. She and Nancy took the whole lot of them to a motel and booked them in. The next morning they were able to get a room at St. Francis House and are on the waiting list for the Interfaith Hospitality Network.
What we see and are able to deal with is the tip of the iceberg, at most. I have often pondered a statement I read once in The Talmud: “If you save one person, you save humanity.” In what sense is this true? I think maybe I was assigning the wrong meaning to the word ‘humanity.’ What you save is the quality of humanity, as in compassion. I lost faith in our local leadership when they were shown a video clip of a pregnant woman being turned away from St. Francis House and did not suspend the meal limit. (I believe Commissioner Sherwin Henry asked for a 90-day-suspension but his suggestion died for lack of a second.) That is why we need to keep working with one person and one person and one person, even as we hope that times in general will get better. If we can’t respond to that one person we have lost our humanity. Now, I am no Talmudic scholar, but I think maybe that’s what it means. We must keep on saving humanity, and we can.
We are accepting water donations. I hope as the summer wears on, other drop-off places will be named, but we are it for now, and glad to get the water. We need lots and lots and lots of bottled water if we are to keep people alive over the summer.
peace and blessings to all of you,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, bug spray,Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, batteries, and 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 Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at

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