Saturday, September 17, 2011


Hello all, and sorry it has been so long.  It has been a trying period for me, and many things going on.  First, let me assure you this project is still happening, and headway is in progress, though some off the time tables and the like are going to be in flux.  My mother has Lymphoma, and had to have pretty invasive surgery, as well as will be going through some intensive chemo therapy for it.  I have to now postponed and looked at ways to re-align this project so I can also be a support to her through this time.  I am sorry if these setbacks and such are not what some of you wanted to hear, but this is important to me, being able to support my mother emotionally.

Now, on to actions, this last month has been a tough one on the area, to say the least.  The east coast has been blown about, rocked, and dumped on excessively, and the economy, despite what the news says, is not helping out the common man much at all.  I met one man recently, homeless, who confided to me, he hadn't had dry socks in weeks, and had horrible trench rot on both his feet.  I want to help, as much as possible, get these people some clean, dry socks, perhaps some small travel size bottles of foot powder to help with the problems represented by these issues.  I cannot do it on my own, my resources are tapped, and I need the help of each of you, and those who you share this project with.  Please, help to help those who are in need.  Shelters and other government funded programs are being cut, and are severely overburdened, individuals like all of you are needed to help these lost souls, remind them that people do care about people, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Please, please consider helping with what you can.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

17 days, launch preparation in final mode

First, I apologize for the length between the last post and this one.  I have been dealing with some hard to swallow news, my mother has lymphoma, and has surgery next week.  So between coming to terms on that level, and working on prep stuff on my end, I have just not gotten to it.  My bad, completely, and I will try not to continue the trend.

Things are working out well, I am excited and ready to go, looking forward to getting out, and making all the difference I can.  There is still always the opportunity to help, continued donations will make sure that I can purchase and hand out socks, shirts, underwear to those in need, perhaps sometimes treat a lost soul to a meal, even if it is fast food, and later, help with costs to compile and publish the book itself.  This is huge, and can be even more, in the long run, with the support and help of everyone, so please, follow us, keep this project in your thoughts, share it with everyone you know, and when you can, help with a dollar or two.

Community is people living together in an area, helping each other live better, happier lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Updates 7.21.11

It's been a little bit, and I appologize, I have been a bit ill, and dealing with some personal and family issues.  Rest assured, I am still working on this, the plans are still all in place and being worked out as you read.  The planned date of departure is rapidly approaching, and things are looking up.  Some big, helpful contributions (thanks to you, you know who you are), but still a ways to go, to do this right.

I am really excited, and a little nervous, but things are coming along, and coming along well.  I can't wait to be able to collect more stories, and be able to start making a difference in people's lives.  It means so much, especially in these hard times.  The idea of community, of people caring and helping those around them, is so important, it is sad it has been largely forgotten.  There is still hope though, even with troubles on the horizon.

I sincerely hope we can all pull together, look inside, and make a difference.  I know we can.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reaching out

I sit here, right this moment, in relative comfort, and think forward to where I will be.  I cannot wait to get out, get this project going, to make a difference.  The initial projected start date is a little over a month a way, and coming fast.  Mid August, I intend to start this journey, that is the plan.  I will be out there, no longer in here, and I will be making a difference.  I will also be learning, learning more about the world the homeless live in, the rules and realities of their situations.  It will teach me a lot as well about the world we live in as a whole, about the society that allows and causes these issues.  I will learn more about myself.  I will learn how to help others.

There are still needs for this to work properly, and for that I ask emphaticly for the help of each and every one of you.  Those I know, and those I do not. Those who have followed from the start, and those just discovering this.  I need the tools to communicate the stories, images and experiences back to you all, and the world at large.  Yes, I obviously am posting from a computer now, but it is not mine, it is a friend's, in their house, I cannot take it with me.  I do not seek a top line model, I mean to get an inexpensive netbook.  As well, I have a source on surplus socks, shirts, and the like, but need to get them shipped to me, which also requires some money.

Yes, I am asking all of you to help support this project, to care enough about your fellow men, women and children, the ones who are less fortunate, and give to see them smile and be heard.  It does not have to be much.  If everyone who reads this, and everyone they share it with were to donate just $5 each to start, quickly that would add up, and goals would be reached swiftly.  That's like eating one extra meal at home, and skipping the coffee shop, or fast food.  Please, help see this happen, and in the long run we can make real changes, make a difference in the lives of those who want to be a part of providing for themselves, and just need help.  Give a little and see that the children are heard, and all the children to come have a better chance.

Help be the change we all want to see.  Help that change start now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Musings on the day

It is the Fourth of July, the day America celebrates itself.  The day of declaring independence from the oppression of others without the consent and representation to at least share in the responsibility.  A community of communities banding together to support the rights, freedoms and future of all.  So let's get back to making it that again.

Today, families, neighborhoods, towns and cities gather, to parade, to explode fireworks, to barbeque and eat.  Much will be consumed, food, drink, fermented beverage.  Games will be played, children will laugh, adults will smile, and talk politics and sports.  Consumerism will drive on with all the dollars spent on all this languid celebration.

Meanwhile, those who have lost it all, the homeless, those on the streets scrabbling to survive, clinging to a fading hope in the system that failed them into this life, do not celebrate.  Not like the rest of the country.  Certainly there are small victories that rouse the spirit of celebration; finding a meal, avoiding the rain, a cool drink of water found in respite of the heat.

Around picnic tables and fires, on porches and in pavilions, stories will be shared.  Of times spent serving in the military, home and abroad, of times past, of families, of triumph, of the consumerist American spirit.  In the forgotten places in every city, town, and even some forests, the stories that one might hear are far different.  Of lives spent in solemn dedication to the "American dream", to working long hours, mortgaging a home, perhaps even twice, of raising children, listening to the 6 o'clock news, voting for the most promising politicians, and trying to save for a time when one can no longer work.  Stories about how all that fell apart in a few scant years of economic downturn and corporate downsizing.  How outsourcing has left entire departments, almost entire work forces unemployed, underemployed, and increasingly, homeless on the streets, in a society which would rather look the other way.

These stories deserve to be told, and to be heard, read, seen and burned into the consciousness of the rest of America as well.  The lessons of those experiences are perhaps infintely more important that what Miley Cyrus wore to the kids choice awards.  Stories and lessons of struggle, of life, of survival.  Of the truth of the American spirit, that people are not ready to give up on life, even if the system and the culture have given up on them.  The remains of the American Dream can be found in every trade of a bag of aluminum cans for enough change to buy a meal, split with a loyal dog, or a companion too broken to pick cans or walk to the soup kitchen themselves.

Think about that, in contrast to the fun and food you experienced today.  Think about what you can do to help, what you can give to bring these stories to light.  What can you give up for a day, a week, a month to help fund hope and smiles for these people?  Show this to everyone, you know and who you do not know, and ask them as well, what can you do to help?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Amy's story

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a bright young lady, in her mid 20's, who, with her bright blue eyes, dirty blonde locks, and pretty as pie smile, could have fit in almost anywhere in America, big city club, or hometown hang out.  Sadly, Amy's story is not so happy as that, though it is becoming quite common.  You see, Amy has had her life turned upside down and inside out by economic hardships, and aid systems that have failed completely.  Now, in all fairness, Amy is an old friend of mine, who I hadn't heard from in some time, and happened to run back into.  Her story however, is sad and all too familiar.

Amy is 26, and a single mother of a four year old little boy, who is her light and joy.  She has not seen him in months, when she lost her apartment for lack of work.  She had been working at a busy retail store, and enjoyed her job, her co-workers, and the life she led.  As the economic fall worsened, the company she worked for was forced to cut hours repeatedly, and soon Amy was working 15 or so hours a week, instead of 35 to 40.  Bills started to pile up, she was relying on family and friends for help, and childcare (finding a sitter was expensive), and the problems were starting.

"I tried and tried and tried to find a job.  First it was that I didn't yet have college.  Then well, it's frustrating when no one ever calls you back.  You just apply and apply, talk to manager after manager, and wait.  You never hear back and you never know.  It gets to the point where you wonder if it's even worth trying anymore."

Soon, she had to give up her car, and then, her apartment management gave her the choice to go, or face eviction.  No one she knew had room for her and her son, though her mother offered to take care of the child, so at least he would be spared the experience.  For months she tried to find work, bouncing from couch to couch as she could, shelters or the street when she couldn't.

"My first night on the street, I didn't sleep.  I was scared to death.  I found great hiding spots, but I was always afraid someone knew them, and I would wake up to being raped."  her words soft, looking down, almost like she was ashamed to admit her fears.

Eventually, she heard from an old friend of her father, who lived several hours away, but was a lead on a demolition crew for a renovation contractor.  He told her if she could get there, he could use her as a laborer, when he had work.  He also told her he could let her sleep sometimes at his house, but only when he didn't have his kids, as his ex wife would try to use it against him.

"It's really nice of him, I get to stay there at least three nights a week, more on the weeks he doesn't get them weekends.  Sometimes one of the other guys will let me use their couch, or a porch.  It's hard here, I don't know many people, and I am still always worried someone will find me."

She goes on to admit she sometimes sleeps at the sites they work, figuring them safer than the streets.  She says she has woken up once, to find someone there, and that she ran.

"I was terrified, I didn't know why they were there, and I don't know if he was going to hurt me or not, but I was too scared to find out, so I ran.  I ran until I couldn't run any more, and then I just curled up in bushes and cried myself back to sleep.  In the morning, it took me a while to figure out where I was."

She tries to find someone with a phone every night to call her son, talk to him and tell him goodnight.  She misses him, and plans to save up for an apartment.

"I filed for help, you know, food stamps and all.  They give me some help with food, which helps a lot, but they told me that the HUD list is so long, it could be years before I see anything.  I tried some churches, but they just send me to HUD.  I just want help to get a place, so I can get my son back.  I miss him so much.  It hurts, he's the only reason I go on most days."

She had to go then, and I was really sad.  I remember this girl from years ago, bright, smiling, full of life and hope.  Back then she hoped to go to college, maybe become a teacher.  Now, she just wants a little help and a chance at life again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A few changes

First, let me thank you all for your awesome support.  Thank you so much, it is generosity, belief and caring such as all of yours that drives projects like this and others to success.  Second, let me assure all of you that this project is still going to happen.  No if, ands, buts, maybes, failures, or set backs about it.  I have learned much through the process of this kickstarter campaign, and am prepared to make some changes to make this happen.  The most important lesson is that kickstarter, while a great and wonderful resource, may not be right for this project.  The pressures it places to have to go for a higher goal, and the time restrictions are just not conducive.  I can and plan to still make this work, and start on the same kind of time line.  It will be even more possible still with all of you, but first, let me lay out the plan of action.
I have a line on a sizable amount of surplus socks, undershirts, and the like, and only need to help with getting them shipped.   With those, and (hopefully) the basics of the project need, I will go out and start the project, and begin with bringing at least some of the stories, images, and successes to the world through the project blog, thus allowing all of you, and the world to see what good is being done, not just believe in what I plan to do.  Since a larger amount of the initial fundraising goal was for portions of the project down the road (publishing and the like), and by careful stripping to start, I believe that by bringing evidence of the project as it is happening, and switching to a live, pay pal based donation will allow people to donate as they can, and as they see the good that is happening.  This will allow for the collection of the small amount of ongoing needed funds, and the collection of the amounts needed later.
I would like to invite you all to join me at the blog, and of course follow the progress of the project, as well as urge you to please consider bringing your already pledged donations over to the new system, to help with the upstart and continued success of this project.  I know this is asking a lot, and an inconvenience, for which I sincerely apologize.  Life though, is a learning process, if nothing else, and I have learned some of the limitations of and needs to run a project of this nature.  I ask each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue to support this project, and help make a difference.  That said, I also understand if any of you wish to change your outlook on this.  You have already shown great and wonderful support and I cannot thank you enough.
On the subject of the rewards, I will do everything in my power to still provide those promised rewards to those of you who have already pledged, were promised these, if you choose to switch over with us and continue to support the project.  Fair of course is fair.
So then I invite you all to join us on the blog, share it with others, and encourage others to share in the feeling of goodness we can spread!