Saturday, January 7, 2012
Our dear directoress, Barb Lescher, wasn't even going to go out on Thanksgiving of 2011. So many other homeless agencies, with more funds than we have, put on so many special events on Thanksgiving and Christmas that there are few if any homeless actually on the streets. But at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and armed with a suitcase full of socks, she did go out, turning down a request from a friend to go Christmas shopping instead. She didn't find many- but at dusk, she found one man bedding down for the night in the doorway of a closed business. She gave him some socks, then asked "Is there anything else you need?" knowing that she didn't have anything in her suitcase other than socks. He politely refused, and she left him to finish making his sleeping bag up for the night. A half block further on, he comes running after her. He says, he had a chance at a job with housing, but they turned him down for safety reasons- because he didn't have steel toed boots. If she could get him some steel toed boots- he could get a job and get off the streets. So Barb calls her friend, and asks if she still wants to go shopping. Thrilled, she picks Barb up, and they go out to the Wallmart on 82nd, which is opening early for Black Friday at 10pm. They pull into the parking lot at 9:50, the doors are already open, the parking lot is very full, so Barb's friend circles while she goes in. The Greeter directed her to the proper department, and 7 minutes later, she was approaching the checkout desks with the steel toed boots. Which is when she saw the crowd and though "OH, I'm going to be here a couple more hours just trying to check out." At that moment, a checkout lady came on shift, and signaled to Barb to skip the lines and come to her desk. 8 minutes total to get the boots. She still had to wait 20 minutes for her friend to circle the lot, but in only one circle- they had the boots and were headed back to downtown. Because of those boots, one fewer soul is off the streets of Portland this winter. What Barb does, is extraordinary. Please, click on this link Our Peaceful Place and click on the Donate Now Button. If you can afford it, sign up for a monthly donation- if we can just get 88 people, giving $25/month, into our sustaining circle, we can keep Barb out there- with plenty of socks and emergency cash for needs like this one.
Posted by Theodore Seeber at 11:46 AM