Please Know...

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.

Throughout this blog you are now seeing advertising. I need to provide this so as to keep going financially with this ministry. If you see something that is inappropriate to this site, please let me know - maybe get a screen shot of it for me. I do get credit for any "click" that you might make on any of the ads. If you're bored some night and want to help me raise some needed cash, visit my site and click away to your heart's content....

Monday, September 27, 2021

ONE and only ONE Afternoon In Kensington

I was arriving in Kensington and I saw a woman I've known for maybe a year as she was standing on a street corner hoping to be picked up to 'do a date' AKA provide sexual services to a total stranger so as to earn some money to buy the drugs that she needs to get her day started.

I pulled over and parked and gave her my typical water and banana and song sheet and the first of 12 bags from Steven's Bags.

She explained to me how she had just woken up and really needed her 'get well' which is a reference to needing her first hit of heroin for the day. She did not have any money to go buy it and so she had to 'do a date' so as to raise that money that's needed. After doing the date she would then go to her preferred drug dealer and buy her drug and inject her drug and then feel better (or possibly overdose and die).

She, like the thousand or so other women on the streets of Kensington, deserve so much better than this when it comes to their health care and getting past this dreadful situation.

Anytime that we can connect in a healthy way to the men and women of the streets of Kensington, we are building community.  When each individual decides the time is right, they know that they will have loved ones on the street who might not be blood-related to them but do care about them and want the best for them and will walk with them in their time of medical healing.

When that time comes that they -  as a patient of substance use disorder - are ready for the care, it is an absolute mandatory Hippocratically Oathed requirement that the medical establishment is ready to provide that care in a prompt and dignity, and respect-filled manner. This is where the system falls apart. The current system is anything but that for Medicaid-reliant patients and must change.

In the meantime, women such as she who represents another thousand women and men who are reliant on those women to provide the funding will continue to suffer and die needlessly.


A man who I've known for maybe 4 years rode up to me on a mini bike in his lifelong residential area of Kensington.

He told me with personal pride how he's gone from being addicted to his substances of choice and making ridiculously large amounts of money as a drug dealer to working in a manufacturing plant in the suburbs of Philadelphia making $19 an hour as a shift supervisor.

He made reference again to the stunning amount of money that went through his hands as a drug dealer and how he had absolutely nothing to show for it. Now that he is gainfully and legally employed, he has something to show for it.

Even in his days as a drug dealer, for as much as I am disgusted by that line of work, he was always polite and he almost always walked up to me and slipped some money into my cooler of bottled water. He would thank me for caring for the people of Emerald City.

He has no pride in doing what he did and great pride in doing what he does.


It was time to go home…  I started to drive south on Kensington Avenue and felt that I should pull over and park in front of Martin's Deli.  I parked and sat…  …and sat some more…

And that's when it happened, the reason I was to park to sit and sit some more…

Kassidy walked up to my car…  

This was the first time I'd seen her in about three or more months.  Those months for her were mostly on her death bed.  Her lover and her loved ones were told that she would not be leaving alive.  Medical issues secondary to her drug use as a patient with Substance Use Disorder would be ending her life at some point in the near future and it would happen in a hospital bed at a place called Temple.

God had and has other plans for Kassidy…

She walked toward me appearing more healthy than I have ever seen her.  Her eyes framed in her natural red-headed hair sparkled with life, nearly but not completely free of street drug use…  She shared with me the events of these past months and her and Destiny's goals for life moving forward.

A bit of back story…

Kassidy and Destiny (their blog names) have a special place in my heart and they should for you if you, a reader of this blog, are one of my actual neighbors in or near Glen Mills, Pa.  If you are my literal neighbor, then you are a literal neighbor of the currently misplaced Kassidy and Destiny. 

The moral of this story dear suburban neighbor is this…  

The "Kensington Issue" is not an issue of Kensington.  

This miss phrased issue is YOUR issue involving YOUR actual, factual, and in all realms of reality very real literal neighbors! 

Please get involved accordingly.


These true accounts are three of several other actual experiences that I had in one visit on Sunday, September 26, 2021, with the awesome people of Kensington, many of whom are patients with Substance Use Disorder and others who are not and simply know Kensington as their multigenerational home.

If you had told me 6 years ago that I would be involved in such an experience, I would say you're nuts. But here I am. 

I would encourage you, no, I would urge you, no, I wish I could demand of you to become fully involved in some aspects of what is happening in Kensington. 

I can guarantee you your life will never ever be the same and I mean this in the most positive way.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Abused and Sitting on a Sidewalk

This past weekend, I was walking south on Kensington Ave, past Martin's Deli.  A few yards in front of me, I saw a human form balled up on that sidewalk somewhat propped against the wall. [1] 

Male?  Female?  Did not matter…

Breathing?  Not Breathing?  That did matter…

Walking closer, I determined that which did not matter.  She's a woman…

Breathing?  Hhmmm…  Not sure…

"Hello!”  Tap on her knee then shoulder…

Shake her shoulder…

No reaction and definitely not breathing…

A rugged man of Hispanic descent who I'd never met saw the situation, came over and assisted…

We sat this apparently unknown woman up and she flopped back in near deadness onto the sidewalk behind her.  Her eyes rolled back in true near-death style. 

"Cricket!"  I shouted!  I'd not seen her in several months…

The motion was enough to reawaken her.  With disorientation in her countenance, she looked at me as she sat there in a deep high. 

I sat down on that sidewalk with her and the man started to cry…

"I was scared for you Miss.  I'm glad you're ok…  Your friend (me) obviously cares about you." 

He looked more specifically at me and continued...

"You've got me crying as you're sitting on the sidewalk with her.  People who do what you do don't do that."

Kassidy said that same sort of thing a few months ago. 


Why am I so comfortable sitting on a sidewalk with a person in their state of being 'high' or just back from 'doing a date'?  Why can I sit down with an addicted man, woman, or person in transition and just chat about the random stuff of life?

It's out of my brokenness, my years of being the receiver of verbal abuse by classmates and 'professionals' who should have known better, that I can relate to these people.  

These human beings are Medicaid neglected and far too often verbally abused patients with Substance Use Disorder who live on the streets and deserve so much better than that which our society serves.  

I tell them each and every day that they are an inspirational human being made in the image of God and worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

All Roads Lead to Kensington.

As I was parked at my typical location at the intersections of Ruth and Somerset[1], people came and people went to and fro from their self appointed rounds of 'doing a date'[2] to buying their drugs of 'choice' to consuming those drugs through inhalation and/or injection.

One of those people stopped to actually share with me the pain she's feeling about the relationship she's in these days.  "He's miserable to live with."

She went on the tell me how sick she is with 'doing dates' how she's dead inside for having done so for so long and doing so only to financially support the heroin addiction she'd rather not have.


I wanted to back off for a moment from the heaviness of the conversation and that's when the path of that chat took me home - literally….

Where are you from?  I asked.

"I lived for a few years in Glen Mills."

"Glen Mills!?"  So did I!  I grew up in Glen Mills and live there now.." 

I lived in a house with my husband at (exact address) very near the 322 overpass on Smithbridge Road.."

I grew up at Saint John's Church at the corner of Concord and Cheyney Roads.  My Dad was the priest there.

Is that the big church with the really big cross in the front yard?

Yes.  It is.

Did they build an addition recently?

Yes.  They did.

My husband and I would sit in our car in their parking lot and use their open free wifi…….


Dear Saint John's Reader of this blog…

From your parking lot where you and she have parked, you drive down the driveway and turn right onto Concord Road.  You proceed to Matson Road and turn right onto it and then left onto Route 322.

From there, you merge onto I-95 and then get off at exit #23.  You turn right onto Delaware Ave and right onto Aramingo Ave and left onto Lehigh Ave and right onto Kensington Ave.  Go up two blocks and turn right onto Somerset Ave.  Ruth Street will be your next block. 

At the end of your 35-minute drive, you will meet the young lady who lives on those streets and used your open internet connection in her days when opioids were beginning to take hold of her soul.

All Roads Lead to Kensington.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

How do I explain to you the depth of misery that exists on the streets of Kensington?

Do I tell you about the mice and rats that occasionally share beds with our misplaced suburban neighbors? 

No…That's way too disgusting…

Should I tell you about the otherwise adorable and now newly emaciated woman in her upper twenties who walks the streets trying to look sexy so as to attract  a 'date' who will pay her for some degree of sexual service in the back seat of the same car that he daily shares with his wife and children? 

Yea…  Let's start there…


For several years, she didn't need to 'walk the streets.'  Walking the streets is a behavior reserved for women who are new to Kensington and have not yet developed their list of 'regular' 'dates' or - for health reasons - have lost their regulars due to their declining appearance.

Her natural adorableness with an incredible combination of cute and sexy had allowed her to build up quite a clientele of 'regulars,' 'men' who 'hired' her on a regular basis so as to fulfill their natural needs of release (may the reader understand…).

Her list included men of all professional and trade backgrounds and others, perhaps not so highly educated but hardworking nonetheless.


And then came that day when a new 'regular' suspiciously and spontaneously entered her world which was drowning in the unkempt swamp of Medicaid underfunded treatment for her Substance Use Disorder.

She was absolutely ready for detox, rehab, and reclaiming life.  She emphatically told me so as we were talking on the phone.  At that moment, she was waiting for a bus to take her back from a 'date' with one of her many regulars and from his marriage bed on the 'Main Line' to her government-subsidized apartment.  In the background, I could clearly hear…

"Hey, Babe…Want to make some money?"

With no available support to say "No I've decided to go to detox."  she began meeting with this 'man' who paid her $300 to $400 dollars about every other day for his own pleasures. 

With a ridiculous level of funds at her disposal for inhaling and injecting, within a few weeks, healthy and appropriate weight shriveled into emaciation.  Her 'regulars' quickly caught on to her lack of health and cute sexiness and stopped calling.  And now she walks the streets hoping some random guy will pull over in his family car, make a request of her and pay her the funds she needs to support the addiction she'd rather not have.

Without realizing it at the time of this writing, her story continued on in this blog series with an entry on December 17, 2021:  The Sprint to the Finish


There is no end to this story because, as you read it, this story is in all actuality and reality playing itself out with various players in the here and now on the streets of Kensington, a section of Philadelphia 30 minutes from the home of most of the people who are reading this blog.

How do I explain to you the depth of misery that exists on the streets of Kensington? 

I have just done so by serving you one of the Pringles in the can…

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Why do I do what I do in Kensington?

I had the privilege today of witnessing the most incredible Christ spirit-filled well-read and intellectually knowledgeable Bible study leader and Christian whose roots of all of the above were founded in a jail cell within a jail (AKA "The Hole") in upstate Pennsylvania when Christ came knocking on his heart.

What did I witness?
He embraced a brokenhearted woman who unexpectedly had to say goodbye to her son until the day they meet again in heaven. Her son was not lost to drug use but to the random happenings of life.
This extraordinary Christian Bible study leader embraced her and she embraced him.

Big deal you say?
Years ago he was her drug dealer and she was his customer.
Why do I do what I do in Kensington?
Maybe now you have a small understanding.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

I am an inspirational human being made in the image of God and I am worthy of dignity, honor, respect and love.

Yesterday, as I was visiting the wonderful people on the streets of Kensington, within an hour and a half of my 2.5-hour visit,[1] I had distributed 60[2] 'song sheets' and was starting to tap into the next batch originally printed for my next visit.  These 8.5"x5.5" pieces of paper are at the core of why I do what I do in Kensington.

These song sheets have evolved over the three or so years that I've been sharing them.  Somewhere at the beginning of their development, I started to include a text block as follows: 

When I first started doing so, a few people smiled and agreed with the statement.  Others cried and said that this is 'not true at all.'  I simply asked each person to memorize this simple phrase and tell themselves this every hour of every day. 

I've also told them that it's true even on days when they don't believe it.  And I've added that even though I'm the guy who is handing out these song sheets, there are days when I don't believe it of myself and yet it remains true.


About a month ago, one of the ladies who live on the street told me as I was handing her my most recent song sheet the following:

"I memorized this to the point where I could say it very easily.  I was 'doing a date'[3] that was going bad very quickly.[4]  I stopped the guy, told him that 'I am an inspirational human being made in the image of God and I am worthy of dignity, honor, respect and love.' He stopped what he was doing and I got out of his car."[5]

I've shared this short story with nearly every woman[6] who has accepted a song sheet since that day.  The response has been incredible for a couple of reasons that have been pointed out to me.

  • It honestly acknowledges, without judgment, that this woman funds her medicinal needs by 'doing dates.'
  • It lifts her up as the child of God who she in absolute fact is.  That 'Child of God' status is far bigger and far more blessing filled than her role[7] as 'doer of dates', a role that she is in ONLY to financially support an addiction that she would rather not have.

 I am an inspirational human being 

made in the image of God 

and I am worthy of 

dignity, honor, respect and love.

[1] Before needing to leave for my 3-11 shift as a driver at Recovery Centers of America

[2] The typical number that I've prepared since the beginning of doing this…

[3] This is the phrase used in place of the words 'engaged in prostitution' and similar phrases.

[4] The guy was assaulting her in some way beyond whatever agreement of sexual service that had been determined to at the beginning of the 'date.'

[5] In so doing, she was walking away from her immediate source of income that would provide her with the money to buy her next dose of 'medicine.'  She was risking the onset of dope sickness and she was making it a requirement of herself to stand, once again, on her preferred street corner in hopes that some guy who she does not yet know exists will invite her into his car so as to perform an agreed-to level of sexual 'service' with at least a slight hint of 'dignity, honor, respect and love.'

[6] I've asked without judgment lots of ladies this basic question:  "What percentage of the women out here are totally reliant on doing dates to support the funding of their 'medicine.'  The typical answer is "about 90%."

[7] Hopefully temporary