Today was the 81st week of making and delivering care bags for the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. November 30, 2014, makes 430 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered.
Today started as a relatively warm day in Chicago but quickly got very, very cold. It’s hard sometimes to contain my involuntary reaction to the cold weather in front of the homeless I see. I don’t feel it does any good to underline the differences we experience between our lives so I always try to keep something like talking about how god awful cold it is to a minimum. I was excited to share my idea of collecting donated iPods. It was another chance to talk about something exciting and positive. Music is just one of those essential things to us to lift us up and take us away to another place. Roger seemed excited at the idea and talked about liking “oldies”. My response was a little fun and jovial, “like what? 40’s stuff?” he laughed and talked about classic rock. Since I have every Beatles track in existence, I asked him about his opinion. He told me he never knew why people were so taken with the Beatles? So that was that and a big “NO” on the Beatles for Roger. I spoke to Mike, a 37 year old in the same vicinity. His musical taste was broader, liking old school r&b and hip hop. He likes Johnny Cash and Ozzy Ozbourne as well. We were able to share some comments from high school and why we liked, what we liked. It was a good connection and he lit up. It was good to see him light up to the idea and see first hand how important music is. Teresa was very appreciative of the idea as well. She was firm handed and decisive. Classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s. She likesLynyrd Skynyrd and referred to Janis Joplin by just “Janis”. Doesnt that demonstrate how personal music can be. She likes “Janis”. She painted a clear picture in what I could download onto her iPod. There were others today, all of them loved the idea and reacted with such joy. It made me feel good to be able to make this happen. I cant wait to implement this. So any of you that have an old, working iPod and want to breathe new life into it; to know your old iPod, that gave you so much joy can now give someone in need that same joy, please consider donating it to me. Please include the charging cord and manual if it came with one. You can ship it directly to me at P.O. Box 479304, Chicago, IL 60647. You can purge it from music or not, whatever is easy for you. Thank you everyone as always.
Today was the 80th week of making and delivering care bags for the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. November 22, 2014, makes 424 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered.
I was able to make a large quantity of soup last night from scratch…Its a vegetable soup with lemongrass and chicken. I thought my friends would like a hot bowl of soup with a real piece of flatware instead of the usual plastic spoon . These wide mouth jars worked pretty well…I hope they enjoy it!
I’ve known about a very special woman named Carol Boyd and her organization, Humble Hearts Organization for some time. She works a day job then comes home and prepares meals for 65 of Chicago’s homeless three days a week. She delivers! That amount of energy, compassion and dedication is very inspiring. She forms lasting relationships with the people she meets; like the article below (comments section) states, “She is the real deal”…
There’s also Mike Karl, who is completing his week long effort to raise awareness for the homeless today. He’s been sleeping out in the cold and reporting in real time what he’s going through to give a taste of what the majority of the public doesn’t know. Its easier to turn a blind eye to the things we aren’t accustom to. Mike and his organization, Homeless Angelsis playing a huge role in bringing it into our homes.
When you care about the environment, you care about the entire ecosystem, you care about the planet as a whole. You care about not only your own community but far off areas that are also being impacted by climate change. Things like deforestation, sustainability and various species of animals on the endangered watch list. You know that it is all tied together and we must care for all of it to reverse the negative effects. Caring for people, all people should be no different. We are all connected as well. Are not we part of the entire ecosystem as well? Even though we have individual diversity are we not predominantly the same from a more global, far off viewpoint? The treatment of other people in our society has an enormous impact on the rest of us. It is incredibly easy, even for the most sentient of us, to place judgement and negative opinion for those in a situation we don’t understand. That negative way of thought, to me, leads to all sorts of developmental trouble for oneself. Some may view the homeless with disdain because of their addictions, mental illness or social status. The bottom line is you simply don’t understand what it was like to be born and grow up as that person, those economic factors, education, nutrition, etc. For whatever negative generalization one could place on that individual, I guarantee there is a complicated series of events that have transpired in that persons life. Just like all of us, but an infinite series of subtle and not so subtle differences. I assure you we are all connected. I have learned to value “other currencies” above money and when money is no longer the driving force in your foundation, wonderful things happen.
November 17, 2014: Roger
I just had one of those “moments” with Roger and had to share. As some of you know, Roger is one of the homeless in Logan Square I see on a weekly basis. Those of you outside of Chicago wont know this but tonight is particularly cold. Its around 17 degrees but feels like 0. He called me a couple hours ago to ask if he could have a few dollars to get some Sterno cans. I knew he needed some from my care bag delivery yesterday. He uses the Sterno to heat up the inside of his tent before he goes to sleep and when he wakes in the morning. He’s not staying behind the dumpster on Fullerton any longer (pictured below) and has moved nearby. The rats have gotten so bad that the fast food place that owns the dumpster had to rebuild the fence and do a drastic extermination. We met at Menard’s. He told me he would linger inside the door or walk around the store to get warm. I made a quick stop to find him some socks, thermal underwear, lighters and some cash so he could get a hot meal. I picked up some Sterno cans and saw him as I was checking out to which he was excited to see me and I also picked up the candy bar he had in his hand. We walked out to the parking lot and I gave him a ride to where he calls “home” for now. It was good to see him in high spirits. He thanked me over and over from the “bottom of his heart”. We shared a laugh or two; he said he found a place that has a gate and near a waterway, so he’s living in a “gated community” with a water front. We had a few great exchanges and I told him to stay warm. Its these kind of moments that seem to take time to achieve. To get past the initial “who are you and what do you want?” when we first met. Its been almost a year and a half since I’ve known Roger. Driving away I couldn’t help but think of all the interactions that grant you the openness and trust I experienced tonight. Sometimes when someone is panhandling, you catch them in a certain “mode” and its a little more difficult to have the kind of exchange Roger and I had tonight. I just wanted to share it with you.
Today was the 79th week of making and delivering care bags for the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. November 16, 2014, makes 419 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered.
I found these great “4 packs” of thermal rubber grip gloves at Home Depot. Everyone really liked them, I have to get more of those. Its also that time of year to stock up on hand warmers and winter clothing for the homeless of Logan Square. A couple clothing drives are currently being organized both here in Chicago and my hometown of Indiana, PA. The clothing collected in Indiana, PA will both benefit those in need in Chicago as well as the town of Indiana. More to come soon…Thanks for the support everyone!
Yesterday was the 78th week of making and delivering care bags for the homeless of Logan Square, Chicago. November 11, 2014, makes 414 care bags full of nutritious snacks, toiletries and assistance information have been delivered.
With the cold weather today, I’m reminded again how harsh Chicago weather can be, how sudden it can change. Every trip to and from the car is a reminder of homeless men like Roger who stay outside 365 days a year. He suffers from mental illness and cannot be around too many people which makes it impossible to go to a shelter. I keep thinking, I can grab a sweater or a warmer coat or “I can’t wait to get inside and warm up” as I pick up my pace to the house. A lot of the homeless don’t have that option. Next weeks bags will contain more hand warmers, hats, gloves, or ski masks.