Sunday, June 12, 2016


Dear friends,
Sorry for the long silence.  I have been dealing with boring, time-consuming, but very non-lethal medical stuff (just part of being 70 I guess), as well as an unexpectedly enormous response to our Food Pantry.  I now have three volunteers working with me, Liz, Marie, and Reggie, many thanks to all three of you - as well as major assistance from Peggy toward the end of the month.  She brings in, among other things, her signature sandwich and cookies spread, which is extremely popular.  . I have no doubts that this service is needed.  People walk through 95 degree heat and through thunderstorms and then stand in line to receive their bags of food, meds, and candles.  This past Wednesday we had 115 participants.   We totally feel like the Home Van again, except the people are coming to us.  Many of those who come are real heartbreakers - pregnant women, elderly people, people in wheelchairs.  As the old timers back in Vermont said so often, "I don't know what this world is coming to." 
Although we are a food pantry for homeless people, we make a few exceptions, mainly for veterans.  The VA social workers have become aware of us and they send veterans, many of then newly housed and getting back on their feet, to us for food.  Also there are a few very old people from my neighborhood who come here for food. 
Before I go any further, I would like to say to my many friends in the LGBT community - my thoughts, my prayers, my love - are with you.  The massacre in Orlando beggars any words I can come up with except these - we all need to become more loving people in any way we can.  We need to increase the amount of love and peace in the collective consciousness, and we can only do it one person at a time.
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO OUR GO FUND ME SITE!  We now have $1035 in our account.  Our goal is two thousand dollars (40 tents). 
I do not know the person who was shot out at the Sweetwater Branch community, at least by name.  It bothers me that perpetrators in the homeless community are identified, by the media, according to their housing status, and I hope this practice will eventually be outlawed.  It reminds me of the 1950s and early 60s when only African American suspects were identified by race.  In other words, if two people, one white one black, robbed banks, the subsequent headlines would read:  "Man robs bank," and "Negro man robs bank."  It took legal action to stop this practice.  Domestic violence tragedies happen in all communities and neighborhoods, housed and un-housed, so this sad news will not, I hope, lead to a call to evict the Sweetwater Branch Tent Community.  It is one of the oldest and most stable homeless neighborhoods in the city. 
I am also very sad that Fredo's dog Cha Cha was shot.  She was a very sweet dog, and she was Fredo's family.  I know that it is very frightening and potentially dangerous to be charged by a strange dog, but I have to wonder if pepper spray would not be a viable alternative.  I had a rescue dog, years ago, who turned out to have one major flaw:  He was dedicated to biting everyone except us.  He got out once and the mailman pepper-sprayed him and it worked very well.
Many thanks to all of you who are supporting us with food and money and useful items like tents and candles.  Blessings on you.  I am more than a day late and a dollar short in acknowledging all that you do for us, but know that I thank God for you every day.