Mission: A wicked freezing winter storm is approaching and the world of the homeless may seems very far from yours -- but in some ways it is in our back yards. For any of us, the loss of a job, the death of a spouse or a child or a severe physical disability could be the route to total despair. These are the very tragedies that have happened to many homeless people. Struck by personal tragedies, the forgotten people, living in the woods at Tent City, have lost their homes and been deserted by the families and friends they once had. What can you do to help them? Coming together as a community with our hearts and pots can go a long way. Join us! Be a Snow Angel! Locals Loving Locals © Bring YOUR SOUP and what you can. Check out the Tent City needs list by clicking the button above. Let us know you will join us tomorrow on our maiden Soup Caravan voyage below
** If you can purchase one bundle of wood please bring one. Shopright carries them.
** Propane would be GREAT TOO!
*** There is about 80 people there.
****NEED TO DROP Your Donation off during the day: Please drop off at GOT STYLE HAIR SALON 701 RT 9, Beachwood, New Jersey 08722. Thank You Deb for helping. (Not accepting donations till next scheduled Soup Caravan)
Caravan / Supply Meet Up Location: On the side of the road at (GPS ADDRESS) 1 Vine Street Lakewood NJ 08701
Date & Time: TOMORROW!! NEXT SOUP CARAVAN TRIP WILL Be ANNOUNCED! THANK YOU
Maiden Voyage Closing Thoughts: As I sit here collecting my thoughts in order to write them down, the first thing that comes to mind and heart is that tonight was one of the most profoundly life changing and humbling experiences I have ever had.
If you are reading my status update, you are likely home, as I am, or at least somewhere warm and dry. You likely have clothes to wear and food to eat. I sit here wrapped in the warmth of a cozy nest, aware that I only turn around to the fridge behind me for a drink. If I am cold, I can put on a sweater. I hear the wind chimes singing, and the wind itself dancing through the trees.
So much we take for granted in our rushing about. So much I have taken for granted in my 48 years.
When I woke up yesterday, I had only the awareness that it was a new year, and a new day. I have never been one to make resolutions, though I have tried in recent days to become a more aware and giving individual. Still, I don't know what moved me to make the decision I made. I got up, I looked at my big soup pot, and I thought, "There's a big storm coming, and there is a tent city of homeless people who are going to be freezing. I want to make them some soup." I said it aloud to Bill and Ricky, and then I contacted one individual I knew had the heart and soul to help me. I messaged Michelle Leonard, told her my idea, and within minutes, she had a website up and running, and we had our Soup Caravan in motion.
Fast forward to this afternoon: I left school, and met a beautiful soul at the Monmouth rest stop. She had driven down from North Jersey in the beginnings of the storm. She had a truck full of donations, and a huge pot of bean soup. My heart overflowed.
I then met up with MIchelle and her friends at a local salon in Beachwood...and could not believe how many donations we had received. I was speechless, and started to cry.
Michelle and I, along with her friends, and her sweet daughters, loaded up both our SUVs to the limit. We had soup, firewood, cases of bottled water, blankets, other food, pet food, warm clothing, tarps, insulation for covering tents, etc. We had to leave some things behind because we did not have space for it all.
When we got to Tent City of Lakewood, NJ, Pastor Steve, Cindy, and some residents, came up to greet us, and as the snow began falling, we unloaded both trucks into their chapel tent.
I looked around at the different tents, and thought about what it would be like to live that way, every day, with no other options. No hot shower. No warm bathroom. If fortunate, one has a propane heater, but many only have a campfire for warmth. I thought about how easily that could be me, or someone else I know, especially in this economy.
Still, the people I met had smiles of grace on their face. They said thank you many times, I lost count of how many. I overheard two men talking in front of one of the pots of soup. "Wow. It's still hot! It's fresh! It's homemade". I could hear the gratitude in their voices, and my heart again overflowed with the joy of doing something for someone else.
As always, there are some people who don't understand. I had some people who told me I was foolish to go to Tent City, especially after dark. I was told that I was wasting my time and efforts on people who don't care, who don't appreciate the help, or who abuse drugs and alcohol. Maybe that's the case for some, but I can tell you this: I left my pocketbook unattended on the front seat of the Jeep. It remained untouched. I had no one ask me for money, no one treat me any way other than with complete respect. And I felt the warmth of gratitude surrounding me.
Right now, as the snow falls down around us here in Ocean County, there are people eating hot soup made by caring and loving hands. They have warm bellies, and I hope they have warm shelter from the storm.
I am so humbled and blessed to have been able to do this for them, and I will do it again and again for anyone in need, whether it be Tent City, or another family who is without.
We are here to help one another walk our paths. Even though we all take our own journey, we need to help our fellow man along theirs. Without judging, without criticizing. But only with loving and open hearts. THAT is why we are here, friends. To do unto others.
Give light...and people will find the way.
Thank You my friends!