Dear Friends, 

The outpouring of support in the form of furniture for the families who we have been busy helping to furnish their new homes was overwhelming...thank you!!!  I could not have expected such a wave of generosity, but why should I have been surprised, you have all been there for us in one way or another over the past 5+ years!

So...we collected beds and bureaus, couches and coffee tables, and many other items from about a dozen of you so far, and still have many offers out there.  I have made a spread sheet of many items that many of you still possess, but that we do not currently have homes for.  Approximately once a month we help move an individual or a family into a new apartment or home....If the item that you offered us is not in your way, I would love to call on you in the very near future to get it out of your way and into a new home.  But...if you do not have the room to store said items, I will recommend that you call the RI Donation Exchange Program - also known as The Furniture Bank Of RI.  They will pick up your items for free and also provide a tax deductible receipt for your donation.  Their phone number is 401-831-5511.  

Until then, I will keep on file the donation that you have offered and may reach out to you in the near future, and no worries if by that point you have already given them away...I wish I had unlimited space to store these wonderful items.  Lastly, I have a few more items that I am currently looking for:

Toddler bed + sheets                                Crib (confirmed by current safety standards) + sheets                                    TV (flat screen)                                         TV stand                                                    Pots & pans                                             Night stand for adult bedroom             Lamps (table/bedside lamps, for bedrooms)    Plastic clothes hangers

Please contact me if you happen to have any of the above items, and thank you again for your continued support of our goal to show hospitality, deliver resources, offer friendship and support, and provide hope to everyone who comes through our doors.                                Scott

 

Guests at our table....

April 23, 2017 - She thanked me for the pictures I took of her four cats way back last fall. I hadn't spoken with her since but she continued as if we had spoken just yesterday, like we were best friends.  With a mix of anger  and sadness in her voice, she told me that someone had thrown Midnight, her favorite pet, into the Providence River last winter, never to be seen again. She was grieving even now.

She said Albert was watching their things in the back of the parking lot. "Why don't you go take some pictures of my kitties." she suggested. So I did. When I got there Albert peeled back the blanket that hid them from view and two little white cats peeked out of their cage for the portrait Judy requested.

Albert is a talker. I'm not sure how exactly it started but he began telling me how he grew up in Olneyville. He said he knew a few things about auto repairs and pointed to the baby carriage piled high with all their earthly belongings. Beside a cage containing the two cats, I made out a tarp and lots of bedding. Both back wheels were splayed out under the weight of load. He wasn't worried though. He thought he could fix it. Then he got back to his childhood, how he hid behind the tires at the garage when he was little, how he knew about these kind of repairs, how he worked there as a teenager. They reminded me of two modern day adventurers with a wagon load of all their possessions, looking for the promised land.

Judy came back so Albert could take his turn at the Sunday Friendship Breakfast. But he was in no hurry, still talking about the past. I remarked that the last time we met he barely spoke, only to tell me how he had gotten the side of his face smashed in, and even that in just a few guarded sentences. ("I was asleep. Some guy dropped a cinder block on my head.") Judy said, "Oh yes, her Albert is a talker, from the time he gets up in the morning till the time he goes to sleep. She has never known anyone that could talk as much as Albert."

She was pleased when I showed her the picture I had just taken of her two white cats. She reminded me not to forget to bring it next Sunday. I wanted to know more about these two rough sleepers. I asked if they stayed out all winter and Albert nodded yes. Judy said they usually camped under the bridge behind Providence Place Mall. "But what about when it got really cold?" I asked. She said they would come in to a shelter when it was really bad, sneaking the cats past the desk.

It's obvious they have much affection for each other. I offered to take a few shots of them right now and they were happy to pose. Here's the picture, with their carriage of clothes and the two cats hidden away somewhere amongst their things.

Jan Armor

 

Just Out! The Sunday Friendship Breakfast Book

Photos and stories about the guests at our Breakfast.

Download it here.

Think homelessness has gone away.... think again. 

From an article in The New Yorker, October, 2013, by Ian Frazier

For baseball games, Yankee Stadium seats 50,287. If all the homeless people who now live in New York City used the stadium for a gathering, several thousand of them would have to stand. More people in the city lack homes than at any time since . . . It’s hard to say exactly. The Coalition for the Homeless, a leading advocate for homeless people in the city and the state, says that these numbers have not been seen in New York since the Great Depression. The Bloomberg administration replies that bringing the Depression into it is wildly unfair, because those times were much worse, and, besides, for complicated reasons, you’re comparing apples and oranges. The C.F.H. routinely disagrees with Mayor Bloomberg, and vice versa; of the many disputes the two sides have had, this is among the milder. In any case, it’s inescapably true that there are far more homeless people in the city today than there have been since “modern homelessness” (as experts refer to it) began, back in the nineteen-seventies.

Most New Yorkers I talk to do not know this. They say they thought there were fewer homeless people than before, because they see fewer of them. In fact, during the twelve years of the Bloomberg administration, the number of homeless people has gone through the roof they do not have. There are now two hundred and thirty-six homeless shelters in the city. Imagine Yankee Stadium almost four-fifths full of homeless families; about eighteen thousand adults in families in New York City were homeless as of January, 2013, and more than twenty-one thousand children. The C.F.H. says that during Bloomberg’s twelve years the number of homeless families went up by seventy-three per cent. One child out of every hundred children in the city is homeless.

The number of homeless single adults is up, too, but more of them are in programs than used to be, and some have taken to living underground, in subway tunnels and other places out of sight. Homeless individuals who do frequent the streets may have a philosophical streak they share with passersby, and of course they sometimes panhandle. Homeless families, by contrast, have fewer problems of mental illness and substance abuse, and they mostly stay off the street. If you are living on the street and you have children, they are more likely to be taken away and put in foster care. When homeless families are on the street or on public transportation, they are usually trying to get somewhere. If you see a young woman with big, wheeled suitcases and several children wearing backpacks on a train bound for some far subway stop, they could be homeless. Homeless families usually don’t engage with other passengers, and they seldom panhandle.

 


Active Shooter Video: We mourn the rising incidence of "active shooter" tragedies in the U.S. and around the world.  Sadly, it has become obvious to us that those in our church, as well as those in the general public, need to think about what they would do if such an incident struck MSUMC -- or their school, or workplace, or place of leisure activity.  To that end, we encourage everyone to watch the short Run-Hide-Fight video now required of employees and students of many schools and work organizations.  Here is the link: Run-Hide-Fight   (The Lord be with you...)