This is probably going to be one of my all time favorite pictures. A man named Dick Weed is holding court with a group of young, middle class kids from places where no one is named “Dick Weed” or “Chubs” or “Black Mike” or “Country”.
Dick Weed is seemingly so different than these students. Almost from another universe (although he lives just 5 miles down the road from where they live). YET he and them are SO similar. The same desires. The same hopes. The same dreams.
What an incredible opportunity for these students. I truly hope they liked meeting Dick Weed. I love Dick Weed SO much.
These are students from Grace Church. They joined us this summer in doing their outreach program that normally happens in Philadelphia and Mexico. We were SO lucky to have them spend time with us this year.
This is Sage with his friend Howard Carter at the John Brown Monument at the Akron Zoo. The Summit County HIstorical Society was giving a talk on Abolitionist John Brown this weekend.
Howard is an historian, a civil war reenactor where he is Private Howard Carter of the Army of the James X Corp 3rd. Division 5th Regiment United States Colored Infantry Co. “G:” He knows more about Grace Park in Akron than anyone alive. He is educated, smart, interesting, hard working.
Howard is also homeless.
Ashleigh is seen here having a chat with Donnie Jean on Food Bank food delivery day to one of our houses.
The food and clothes and supplies and water, while needed, aren’t really our primary interest. They just help us achieve our primary goal: Ultimately we look to break down all barriers that separate the houseless and the non-houseless. We are all just people.
A “house-free” (as he prefers to be referred to) friend of ours, Chubs, has created this art display of a basic tent a house-free person might live in. This will be on display in our Tent Village Memorial and Community Garden.
Notice the bar of soap on the bent ladle. The bucket is for water to use to clean dishes and yourself. The blue wash rag on the post behind the bucket was found from the woods. He will be adding a found towel on the tall pole. Everything is authentic just as a house-free person might come by it.
There is a tombstone on the left that reads “RIP Tent City. Thanks Uncle Sam.”
The wash rag and future towel will be nailed to their posts so that they can’t be used by an actual house-free person.
The bucket for water is empty.
He has intentionally left any covering off of the tent so that no house-free person can actually use this art as it is completely illegal to shelter human beings on your own private land.
(This is truly a profound work of art.)
The students from Grace Church helped paint and setup this photo collage of some people who lived in our tent village. Gary, on the left, has been driving the vision of it all. He is calling the space the “Tent Village Memorial and Community Garden.” This display board was built by our fellow villager Paul Buchanan and is a centerpiece for the entire garden.
Also pictured is Ashleigh Hughes, our community director, and Xavier from Grace Church.
Virginia (on the right) is cutting a piece of lasagna for Ashleigh (in the middle) that was made by Mary (on the left). Mary lives in one of our transitional houses. She used her food stamps to make this AMAZING lasagna for her housemates and homeless friends living on the street.
(This lasagna might be the best I’ve ever had.)
I would like to take this moment to offer a pause in our lives to remember that there are MANY people all throughout the United States of America that don’t have access to fresh water.
E. coli is a bacteria infection that is common in the homeless population because they are forced to drink lake and river water.
Some fast food restaurants allow homeless people to use their outdoor spigots. Some prosecute for it. I know a woman who spent six months in jail for “stealing” water.
This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad. It’s meant to inspire you. If this means something to you, if it hurts your heart that many people live without fresh water… take up the cause. Just put it on your heart. Think about it a little bit each day. Then, when you’re ready, think about what you could do to connect thirsty Americans to fresh water.
Great tragedies are great opportunities to right the wrongs of the world.
Welcome to LERRYN’s CLOSET.
Lerryn Campbell runs a supply closet for homeless people out of 15 Broad Street in Akron Ohio.
She has collected all sorts of wonderful things. Snacks. Blankets. Masks. Tents. Survival products. All kinds of things.
The way it works is a homeless person comes to Lerryn and tells her what they need. She then goes in and gets it for them.
Her needs change depending on what season it is and what she is running low on. As much as we are eternally grateful for your donated items, PLEASE check with Lerryn before bringing items down. She has very limited room and can get over run quite quickly by all your awesomeness.
You can email her to ask what she needs at any given time: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Lerryn for all you do. Your presence in my life makes me strive to be a better person.
And thank all of YOU for being so wonderful and generous. Nothing is possible without you.
These are portable hand washing stations that Lerryn Campbell makes for our neighbors living on the street and in the woods and in houses that have no running water. As fast as she can make these and any fresh water bottles, they are instantly snatched up.
This is Gary Mikes standing next to two items Paul Buchanan (OP) made for our homeless village. Paul made MANY things for us. But here are the stairs he made to go to our upper level tent village. And he made this triangular notice board. Gary is featuring these two items right in the center of his Tent City Memorial Garden he is building. Both Gary and Paul lived at the village.