As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Friday, July 27, 2018
I had recently learned that my daughter was living under one of two bridges in Kensington. She's been dealing with addiction for years. She's the apple of my eye, the young love of my life. I've visited those bridges a few times in hopes of finding her. Tonight, I did.
Without any hint of this moment coming, Melanie stood up, looked at me and repeated, "Dad?" You're still here?" "Of course I am Melanie. You're my daughter and I love you."
"Forty dollars would keep me reasonably comfortable through the next eight hours."
Monday, July 23, 2018
- I've had countless casual conversations with residents on matters of Faith as we sat on the sidewalk.
- I've assisted with four overdosed people, one who needed CPR. All were saved not by me but by the excellent care given to these four human beings by two residents of Emerald City.,
- I've been scolded at and then apologized to by a Philadelphia police officer who thought I was trying to pick up one of the ladies for a 'date'. He thanked me for my efforts. (That was a fun moment.)
- I've provided Bibles and other Christian themed books, art books, and crossword books and notebooks for diarying.
- I've purchased and distributed several copies of the book, Walking Into Walls, to people who were ready and open to making the changes mentioned in that book.
- I've been told by these overlooked men and women that I'm a blessing to them.
- One drug dealer told me: "If the mayor ever asks me, I'm going to tell him that you should get the citizen of the year award for all that you do for this community."
- I've listened to, held the hand and hugged the straight, gay and lesbian addicted and homeless person also dealing with cancer, MS, HIV, and AIDS.
- I've been told by one that I'm their father figure since losing their own parents years ago.
- I've provided printed prayers and Christian song lyrics to residents and dealers.
- I've reunited by phone residents and family members who had not spoken in months.
- I've passed messages back and forth between residents and family members who are not ready to speak to each other directly.
- I've come to know fathers and mothers and aunts and cousins of residents of the streets of Kensington. All adore their street-imprisoned son/daughter, nephew/niece, cousin and ache to the deepest fathoms of their heart for a safe return.
- I've applied triple antibiotic ointment and bandages to nail-in-foot holes and medicine-injection-gone-wrong abbesses.
- I've been approached for and given a hug to ladies as they hop out of cars on their return from dates and before they leave for their next appointment.
- I've been laughed at by a Mom's daughter, both with whom I've had interaction, when the daughter, who I've known for over a year opened a donated red box to discover it filled with still tagged slim fitting Victoria's Secret extremely kinky "unmentionables." "Chris! A good church guy like you brings us this!!! Thanks!!!"
- I've taken currently addicted and recovered former residents of Emerald City with me to church at Urban Hope.
- I've provided the soap, water, and towels to a fair skinned lady back in the morning from her night of dates to wash her blackened flip-flopped feet. As she did so, I read to her the account of Jesus washing his disciples' feet. I poured fresh water over her feet and ankles as she wiped away the remaining bubbles. I looked up at her… a tiny tear. No one has seen her since.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Monday, July 2, 2018