Good People Doing Good Things — David & Linda Brown

It was a tough choice for this week’s good people, for I had two major candidates, and several small ones and only so much time, space, & energy.  So, I have bookmarked the ones I didn’t choose for another Wednesday!  Meanwhile, I’d like to introduce you to David and Linda Brown of Springfield, Missouri.

Back in November 2010, the couple saw a need for a drop-in center for the homeless in downtown Springfield during the early evening hours. Together with some friends, they opened one evening a week at The Front Porch, a venue in the heart of downtown. The purpose was two-fold. First, was to provide a safe place for homeless persons to get off the streets for a few hours. Second, was to build relationships and gain a firsthand understanding of homelessness.

A couple of years later, they expanded their operation, formed The Gathering Tree, and moved to a different location to better meet the needs of more homeless people.  The Gathering Tree obtained a two-year lease for their own facility and were able to expand the hours to five evenings a week with the help of many individuals and several organizations. Meals were provided along with essential items such as clothing, personal care items and survival gear. As many as 150+ individuals were served during these evenings.

Through the years, they expanded their operation such that people coming in off the street were able to rest, play card games, use computers, sing karaoke, partake in a bingo evening, take a shower and continue to get essentials they needed to survive on the street.  But they knew this wasn’t enough … these people needed a place to live, a home!  In 2017 Linda, who is a real estate agent, learned of a listing for an abandoned 4.2-acre mobile park on Springfield’s east side. The property wouldn’t need to be rezoned for tiny-home trailers, and the infrastructure and utilities were already in place.

So, they transformed an abandoned mobile home property into a village of tiny homes that provides permanent housing to the chronically homeless. They raised $4.75 million and opened Eden Village in 2018, erecting 31 tiny homes that are now occupied by people like Jonathan Fisher. He was battling substance abuse and had lived on the streets for two years when he met Linda Brown, who changed his life.  Says Mr. Fisher …

“In the worst moments of my life, Linda gave me guidance, care, and made me feel like I was still worth something. She helped me to build a better life. Even when I was struggling with homelessness and sobriety, she showed me I was valuable and that my potential shouldn’t be wasted. She made me feel like I belonged somewhere.”

He says that Brown took the time to learn about how he became homeless, and then encouraged him as he rebuilt his life. She even offered him a job. Now sober, Fisher works full-time for Brown, doing construction and maintenance on the 31 homes, and helping others who are experiencing struggles similar to what he went through.  David & Linda believe that the root causes of a person’s homelessness cannot be thoroughly addressed until his or her immediate housing needs are met.

The tiny homes are rolled in on wheels attached to their steel frames, qualifying them as recreational vehicles. The 400-square-foot individual homes are fully furnished, including dishes and bedding.  They can remain in their home as long as they wish, provided they remain a good neighbor in the community.  The village includes a 4,000-square-foot community center where residents can hold cookouts, do laundry, and access a medical office staffed with student nurse volunteers and mental health professionals. Eden Village was even the site of a marriage ceremony for two residents.

Plans for additional villages are already underway on donated land. Eden Village 2 will house 24 residents in tiny homes and is close to opening. Then, work will begin on Eden Village 3, which could house up to 80 residents in duplexes. Over the next six years, Brown, who is a realtor for Amax Real Estate, plans to have five villages across Springfield, housing an estimated 200 homeless people.

This is a movement whose time has come, for numerous other cities are seeking to replicate Eden Village. One project is underway in Wilmington, N.C., and 34 other communities are making plans to replicate Eden Village.  Two thumbs up to this couple who cared enough to do something about the homeless people in their city!  👍👍

Good People Doing Good Things — Ms. Shirley Raines

Well, well, well … we made it to another Wednesday, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m more than ready to hear about some good people for a change!  First, though, I think it is worth noting that the pandemic brought out the goodness in at least some people, and charitable donations were up in 2020 by 5% over and above those of 2019!  Last year, an estimated $471.44 billion was donated to charities around the nation, making 2020 the highest year of charitable giving on record!  Just goes to show what I’ve been saying for a few years now – there are lots ‘n lots of good people out there.


I am focusing on just one very good person today, for her story is worth telling and hearing.  She is Ms. Shirley Raines, who is giving her all to helping the homeless in a 50-block section of Los Angeles, California, referred to as Skid Row.  Even before the pandemic hit last year, causing both health and economic crises, the nation’s homeless population was already on the rise.  Now, more than a year after the last official population count, many of those working with homeless communities believe numbers are much higher.  Says Ms. Raines …

“I would estimate we’ve got about 8,000 people who are sleeping out on the streets or in some of the shelters. There are more women on the street than before. The resources had dried up.”

Ms. Raines has known hardship and her early adult life was not a happy one.  In 1990, when she was only 20 years old, her 2-year-old son, Demetrius, was living with Shirley’s grandmother, for she was struggling and finding it difficult to take care of him.  Sadly, he found some of the grandmother’s medication, tried it out, and later died in the hospital on September 6th, 1990.  Shortly thereafter, Raines lost both her grandmother and Demetrius’ biological father and felt all alone in the world.

“I blamed myself for not having stability. If only I’d had my own backyard. If only I’d had my stuff together.  I just fell apart. I lived a very unhappy life. I couldn’t keep anything together. I’m telling you, anything that I could do to get myself out of this planet, this world, I tried it. And I’m still here, you know? And I’m like, ‘What is this about?'”

After struggling with anxiety and panic disorder for decades, it was Raines’ twin sister who stepped in, urging Raines to find a purpose for her pain.  That purpose came in 2017 when Raines joined a church group on a feeding mission.

“I went to Skid Row, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is where all the broken people are? Oh, I’ve been looking for y’all all my life. I never wanted to leave. It’s a place where people have amazing hearts, but nobody can see it because they can’t see the forest for the trees.”

At first, Raines, who sports brightly colored hair and makeup, passed out clothing, food, and water. But when several Skid Row residents complimented her appearance, she offered to do their hair and makeup.

“I started with the Trans community. They were telling me that no one would give them women’s clothes because they were men. I’m like, ‘Girl, I’ll bring you some women’s clothes. I’ll bring wigs, I’ll bring you eyelashes.'”

Early on, Raines teamed up with a community group of motorcycle enthusiasts called ‘Fighters for The World MC’ who accompany her on Skid Row to provide safety and structure.

“They’re like big brothers. A lot of the homeless would get lost. They couldn’t find us, but they learned to follow the sounds of the bikes.”

As Raines’ efforts evolved into a full-scale operation, with music playing and lines forming around the block, she began providing more supplies and essentials: rape whistles, tents, sleeping bags, hygiene items — and she teamed up with local health officials to offer more services.

Heidi Behforouz, medical director for Housing for Health, a program of the L.A. County Department of Health Services, has worked with Raines on the streets and says, “she is giving people hope, a break, dignity, some fun … just reminding us that we’re all human.”

Before the pandemic, Raines was making 400 meals a week in her one-bedroom apartment kitchen in Long Beach and driving three times a week to Downtown Los Angeles to feed and bring supplies to people.  Then, as Covid-19 affected many organizations’ efforts, services dried up. But Raines pivoted, opting for bagged lunches and a tweaked schedule — and she kept going.

“When I went out there, it was like a scene from The Walking Dead. All the resources had stopped. People stopped coming to feed. People were starving. Some people had socks tied around their face, around their nose.”

Raines struggled to find enough drinking water and food to purchase, so she appealed to her followers over social media who stepped up with donations and supplies.  Raines struggled to find enough drinking water and food to purchase, so she appealed to her followers over social media who stepped up with donations and supplies.

In tandem with the health department, which provided masks, sanitizer and PPE, Raines said her group and other L.A. County non-profits and community projects worked tirelessly to serve the unseen community.

“We just had to use our best judgment and figure out some ways to still keep them fed, while keeping them safe, and while keeping us safe.”

Today, as vaccination rates are on the rise and a sense of normality is returning, Raines is offering help by way of food and supplies twice a week and expanding partnerships with local groups to let this often-overlooked population know there is hope.  Ms. Raines group now consists of about 20 volunteers and the motorcycle group are still with them, helping to organize supplies and meals.


I took my information from CNN Heroes, for Ms. Raines has been nominated a 2021 Hero, but if you would like to learn more about her and her organization, here is an excellent article in People that I wish I had seen sooner.

American Winter – what poverty looks like (a reprise from 2013)

Please take 5 minutes to read Keith’s timely reminder about those less fortunate than many of us. We cannot simply ignore the fact that there are many working poor and homeless people who only need a helping hand from us. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The following post was written eight years ago, but unfortunately still applies today. Our situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where too many small employers had to close their doors. Some of the observations come from my volunteer work to help homeless working families.If you only have a minute, read the next to last two paragraphs, which speak volumes of why we should help.

There is an excellent documentary on HBO called “American Winter” by Joe Gantz which trackseight Portland families who are struggling in this economy. Please check it out atwww.hbo.com/documentaries/american-winter. This documentary puts a face on poverty and shows what these families are dealing with during the economic crisis. Since Ivolunteer with an agency that helps homeless families, I can assure you the problems portrayed in Portland arein evidence inNorth Carolina and elsewhere in the United States. For example, the median family income…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Everyday People

One doesn’t need to be rich or powerful to be a good people … one only needs to care about others and be willing to make a few sacrifices to help people.  Today, I bring you a bunch of good people, and a good critter too!


A journey of a thousand miles …

It’s funny how sometimes one simple act of kindness can have a domino effect and completely change a person’s life.  Just a few short months ago, Kenneth Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, was homeless and didn’t even have money to buy a meal.  He was resting, with nowhere to go, in a chair outside a Fort Worth Outback Steakhouse hungry and half asleep.  Today, he has a job, a place to live, and plenty to eat, and it all started with a woman who, seeing him slouched in the chair as she was leaving the restaurant, asked him if he was alright.

“She asked me was I alright, so I told her, ‘No, I’m not okay at this time.”

She gave him a $100 gift card to buy dinner.  During the course of his meal he began talking to the restaurant’s managing partner, Laura Hodges, who said to Mr. Smith …

“Hey, I don’t ever want you to want for food or go hungry. I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here’s my business card. Bring it anytime.”

For a few months, Mr. Smith dropped in for a meal from time to time until he finally decided to ask Ms. Hodges for a job, and just last month he was hired to bus tables.  Since Smith had no home, Ms. Hodges posted on the Fort Worth Foodies Facebook page asking if anyone knew of a motel with affordable rates.

Instead, generous commenters have now paid for six weeks at a nearby Extended Stay hotel and have donated more than $2,200 along with a bike, clothing, kitchen items and groceries.  Says an incredibly grateful Kenneth Smith …

“I think it’s so much of a good blessing, and it’s wonderful just to have people these days that’ll do things for you.  This is a whole new beginning that God has blessed me with, so I’m trying to get on this right good track that he wants me to stay on.”

Smith is saving up his money for a car, then a home and one day hopes to have his own food service business.  Sometimes all it takes is a leg up, a helping hand, or a $100 gift card.  The woman who started the ball rolling is unknown.  Ms. Hodges says …

“We wish we could find her and know who she was because she blessed both of our lives. This has been a great thing for both of us.  I’m blown away by the generosity of people. It’s absolutely amazing.”

As Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, a journey of a thousand miles starts begins with a single step.


Forgiveness

Carl Wallace is the owner of Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Augusta, Georgia. Just over two weeks ago, someone smashed the restaurant’s front door with a brick in an attempt to steal cash from the register — but there wasn’t anything in the drawer.

“You know my initial response was, you know, anger, frustration. I realized that we’re gonna have to kind of put up a Facebook post about our door looking really, really bad because here we are going to put up two sheets of plywood over the front door to just get through the day.”

But a funny thing happened as he was writing the post to explain the restaurant’s door …

“It really kind of occurred to me … Easter weekend and to just extend an olive branch. You know, extend the layer of forgiveness and kindness and give the … would-be robber some redemption and a different path.”

Wow.  How many of us would have been so forgiving?  The Facebook post reads …

“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix. So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.

To the would be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen. My personal cell is 706-513-3557.

No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.

Sincerely Carl”

So far, nobody has come forth, but nonetheless, Carl Wallace did what most of us would not likely have done in similar circumstances … he extended the olive branch, and in my book, he is a good people.


A closet filled with kindness

Anderson “Andi” Musser is a fifth grade student at Shreve Elementary School in Ohio.  Recently, a friend confided in her that she wished she had some girls’ clothing to wear to school.

“I went to my closet and got the clothes and shoes that I had outgrown. I gave them to her at school the next day. And she was really happy.”

After gifting her friend clothes, Andi couldn’t stop thinking about how great it felt to help someone in need, and a seed of an idea began to sprout.  The next day, Andi approached her principal with her idea to create a Kindness Closet, a place students can visit during the school day to “shop” for a new or gently worn garments.

Says Principal Adam Stein …

“She came to me, and I said, ‘Yup, let’s do it.'”

Andi asked local stores for donations. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Everything Rubbermaid, Goodwill, Kohl’s, and Mission: Thrift all pitched in.

“It’s great for Andi to see her vision come true. It’s part of our culture here at Shreve and Triway. … Proud is an understatement, for sure. It’s what every principal and parent would want for their kid to do – to put others first.”

I’m amazed … a young girl has more humanity and compassion than so many adults we see today.  I think this young lady is going to make a difference in people’s lives in this world.


Critters is good people too

It was September 2000 when Kevin Hines, at the age of 19, decided to end his life.

“I jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was nineteen years old and after leaving the bridge, my first thought was that I had made a terrible mistake.  Upon my resurfacing, I bobbed up and down in the frigid waters surrounding me. Then, something brushed by my legs, I feared it was a shark come to devour me whole. I tried to punch it thinking it might bite me. However, this marine animal, whatever it was, just circled beneath me, bumping me up.”

The sea creature helped keep Hines afloat until he was rescued by the Coast Guard.

Soon after his recovery, Hines became a suicide prevention/motivational speaker. He never knew what the animal was until he was featured on ABC’s “Primetime with John Quinones” to discuss suicide prevention.

Hines said he was flooded with emails after the show and one of them was from a man named Morgan.

He wrote:

“Kevin, I am so glad you are alive as I was standing less than two feet away from you when you jumped…. And by the way it was not a shark (like you mentioned in the TV show) it was a sea lion and I have pictures.”

Hines received a picture from birds-eye view of his near lifeless body laying atop a circling sea lion.  Now Hines tells his story to at-risk groups around the nation, urging people to get treatment for mental illness and helping them realize that suicide is not the answer.  That sea lion may have saved many more than just Kevin’s life on that day more than 20 years ago … we will never know.

Just A Few Thoughts …

I frequently write about the income disparity in this nation.  I’m not a fan of great wealth, see it as unnecessary hoarding while others do without, and I do support government-funded programs that help people in need.  One person often comments on these posts with his opposing view, saying the wealthy earned it, let them keep it … all of it.  Of course, there is a fallacy in that the majority of very wealthy people actually inherited most of their wealth and have not done much to earn it at all, apart from hiring wise people to advise them in their investment strategies to increase their wealth.  Recently this person, whose comments I largely ignore, said that if people simply learned to “invest more wisely”, there wouldn’t be poverty.

Wisely, I did not respond to his comment, for at that moment my answer would not have been calm and reasoned.  Obviously, this person has zero understanding of poverty.  WHAT is there to invest, if you cannot even afford to pay the rent, utilities, and have some left over to buy food???  Even for the average mid-range earner, investment opportunities are largely limited to an employer’s 401(k) plan, for at the end of the month there is little left over.

It is the ignorance born of wealth and entitlement that bothers me the most.  The wealthy don’t even attempt to understand the other 99% of the world … they live in ivory towers, sheltered and shielded from poverty, from the homeless, and even from the very people who are, by their labours, helping the rich get richer.  They oppose a substantial increase in the minimum wage rate, for that might cut into their own profits just a bit.  They oppose helping the poor, falsely claiming that they are poor because they are too lazy to work.  They oppose such healthcare programs as Medicare for All because they have access to the finest medical care available and don’t understand what it’s like for the family who cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor this week.

Yesterday, I read that President Biden will soon unveil his promised infrastructure plan, the first part based on repairing roads, bridges and railways, and the second part focused on families and children.  Already, however, Republicans are calling it useless and a waste of money.  Why?  Because they don’t live in Flint, Michigan where the water is still not safe to drink.  Because they don’t, as a rule, drive over the unsafe bridges and on the highways filled with potholes … instead they travel by private jet or helicopter.  There can be no mistake … the Republican Party, once called the “Party of Lincoln”, is a party that exists solely for the wealthy and that is largely funded by the wealthy.  Lincoln would be appalled by what the party has become today … a bigoted, corrupt organization that is doing everything in its power to keep the poor “in their place” and to return Blacks to the days of Jim Crow.

The Republican Party claims to be in favour of ‘smaller government’, but this is a nation of 330 million people … just how small do they think the government can be, and yet serve those people?  Given that most every Republican in Congress is either well on their way to being a millionaire, or is already one, is it really any surprise that they have no comprehension how the rest of us live?  What does it take?  We pay their salaries out of our meager incomes, and in return we get … NOTHING.  They do not represent us, they represent the heads of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Kraft Foods, AT&T, and so many others.  They represent people who have more money than you or I can even imagine, who have never struggled to pay the bills, buy food, or seek medical attention a single day in their lives.  And now, as they see their ship may soon run aground, they are doing everything in their power to take away our voice, our right to vote them out of office.  Rather than consider altering the party’s platform, becoming more humanitarian, supporting policies that help people and the environment, they cling to their old ways, cling to the plutocracy, and rob us of our right to participate in the government that we fund.

Rather than pay taxes that could fund such things as infrastructure, feeding the poor, building renewable energy facilities and more, the wealthy spend their money to buy politicians who will do their best to ensure none of these things that would help people can happen.  “Whatever it takes” to keep the poor from rising out of the ashes, to keep the working people from seeing a brighter future, the wealthy and the Republican Party will support it.  There are notable exceptions such as those who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Those born into wealth cannot understand what they have never known and it is easier to turn a blind eye than to see how the rest of us struggle.

I am against great wealth … it is the hoarding of money that could ultimately make so many lives so much better.  I make no apologies for my views, for I have experienced that which almost no wealthy person ever has … I have been without a home, I have had my electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill, and I have been denied medical care when I hadn’t the money to pay.  Perhaps the Republican Party should have to live that way for a while and perhaps they would find a bit of humanity within their shriveled little hearts.  Until something changes, this nation cannot realistically be called the “United” States because we are not.

Good People Doing Good Things — Humanity

Last week, I took a hiatus from my usual Wednesday ‘good people’ posts, but I’m back this week with an all-new batch of really good people doing more than their share to make life a little better for someone.


The doctor’s Christmas gift …

I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Omar T. Atiq.  Originally from Pakistan, after completing his fellowship at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Atiq accepted a job offer in Arkansas.

Dr-Omar-AtiqIn 1991, Dr. Atiq founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in the community of Pine Bluff to make comprehensive cancer care available for the economically disadvantaged. Prior to its opening, Pine Bluff cancer patients traveled at least 50 miles for treatment. Dr. Atiq is clear that his patients’ needs were always his top concern—not their ability to pay.

“One principle I have always followed is, I am here to see patients. For somebody to trust their lives in my hands is the highest privilege and honor I can get. We never refused any patient for any reason.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Atiq and his wife were preparing to close the clinic, as he transitions to his new role as full-time professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. They were closely reviewing the clinic’s financial state, and what they found was astounding … some of the patients had bills in the tens of thousands, and were making monthly payments of only $5 or $10.  He realized that many of the folks he’d treated didn’t have the means to pay—especially with so much added financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic

“They wanted to pay but they couldn’t.”

The total owed to Dr. Atiq by his patients was more than $650,000, and he and his wife decided to forgive his patients’ debts in time for the Christmas Holiday.  Each of his patients who owed him money received this card …

Dr-Omar-Atiq-card

“We are blessed that we didn’t need the money, so we decided to just cancel and forgo the debt—and we did.”

Dr. Atiq is, in my book, a very good people!


Anonymous Santa

The year 2020 will live forever in the history books, due to the pandemic that has killed nearly two million people around the world, and thus far has seen over 92 million cases.  Needless to say, the pandemic has caused financial hardship for many in every nation on the planet.  In the city of Edmonton, Canada, people woke on Christmas morning to a nice surprise …

secret-santa

A Santa who chooses to remain nameless left envelopes containing an inspirational rhyme along with $250 gift-cards on approximately 400 doorsteps, for a total of $100,000!  I do hope this Santa doesn’t have his heart set on a Poet Laureate award, however!

The only clue to the selfless Santa’s identity was an email address at the bottom of the notes. CBC News did reach out, but the cagey old elf preferred not reveal his or her identity. The anonymous do-gooder did, however, email the network to share his/her reason for the generous act:

“I decided to do it because I know that lots of people have had a really tough year and I had the means to help out. I hope the gifts gave people a sense that the world is good and there is a brighter future not far ahead.”


One good deed leads to another

Evelyn Topper and her granddaughter, Mikayla Gounard, had been to a local coffee shop in their hometown of San Rafael, California, and it wasn’t until they returned to Evelyn’s house that she realized she no longer had her wallet.  Needless to say, with credit cards and medical cards in the wallet, Ms. Topper was upset!  But …

The next day, a homeless man named Sean Curry phoned Evelyn and told her that he had found her wallet in a dumpster behind the coffee shop.  He made arrangements to bring her wallet to her, and Evelyn thanked him profusely.  Sean, however, didn’t think it was a big deal, saying he did it because he “has a heart”, and because “that’s the way I was brought up”.

Now, Evelyn’s granddaughter Mikayla had a birthday coming up, and she had planned a “socially distanced drive-by party”, whatever the heck that is!  She had asked invitees to donate to a charity in her name, rather than bring presents, though she had not yet decided on which charity.

On the day of her party, the newly-minted 12-year-old placed a photo of Curry and a collection basket next to balloons and party favors on an outdoor table in her driveway. By the end of her “Happy Birthday!” processional, she’d raised several hundred dollars.  The next day, Mikayla and her mom met Mr. Curry and gave him the money, explaining what Mikayla had done.  This was the result …

homeless-man

Says Mikayla …

“I think it’s really important that people who think that because you got pushed down you can never get back up again.”


An exec with a big heart

Ramu Dosapati lives in the Hyderabad region of India where in 2020, hardships brought on by heavy flooding and compounded by the added limitations of the pandemic lockdown left many migrant workers stranded without means of support.  Now, Mr. Dosapati is a corporate Human Resources executive, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what he can to to ensure the area’s struggling workers won’t go without food and other essential items.

Mr. Dosapati has spent ₹50 lakh of his own funds (close to $61,000) to establish and run a ‘Rice ATM’, doling out rice and other necessities 24 hours a day, seven days a week to those in need.

His first step along the road to altruism began simply enough, but he had no way of knowing then just how far his journey would take him, and the amount of good he would do along the way.  Dosapati had gone to the store to pick up the makings for his son’s birthday dinner. While at the shop, he noticed a woman buying an enormous quantity of chicken—close to $2,500 dollars’ worth, in fact. Intrigued, he couldn’t help but ask her purpose in buying so much poultry. As it turned out, the woman, a security guard who works at a camp for migrant workers, was buying it as a special treat for residents there who’d run out of food.

“When I asked her about her salary, she said it was ₹6,000. That made me think that if a lady with ₹6,000 salary can spend ₹2,000 on the needy, why can’t I do the same?”

Dosapati accompanied the security guard to the camp, where he made a list of close to 200 people in need of assistance. He quickly realized, however, the initial investment he’d allotted would only last a few days.  Undaunted, Dosapati cashed in his retirement fund, and working with a local merchant, opened the Rice ATM food pantry. But Dospati wasn’t finished.

Dospati-rice-atmWhile he’d been working toward moving his family into a larger home and had already sold a parcel of ancestral land to secure funding, when Dosapati learned yet another new group of workers had arrived seeking aid, with the blessings of his family, he put those dreams on hold.

“That’s when my wife supported me and asked me to go ahead and carry on with the initiative.”

Since the Rice ATM launched last April, word of Dosapati’s generosity has made the rounds. With support from a number of outside sources now pouring in, the man who has truly put the “human” in human resources says he hopes to keep resources flowing for those in need for a long time to come.

Dospati-rice-atm-2


Well, there you have it folks … lots of good people, young and old, from all walks of life, doing their bit for humanity.  We can all do just a bit to help someone else, if we only open our eyes and our hearts.

Let’s Take A Break From All Things Political

A few hours ago, I re-blogged Keith’s post about how Trump’s lies and treasonous talk of voter fraud, which has been disproven time and time again, has incited threats of violence throughout the nation, but most particularly in Georgia, as they gear up for the runoff elections for Senate on January 5th.   Yesterday afternoon, I wrote a snarky post about a number of socio-political situations that disturb me.  Just a few minutes ago, I left a mini-tirade on Trump’s Twitter feed, hoping to release some of my fury (I’ll probably get banned again, but … who cares?). I’m tired.  I’m disgusted.  I so desperately want to leave this country and never come back … that is Trump’s legacy, in my book.  Long story short, I need to write something tonight that is not political, that does not include the word ‘trump’, and that will quell the rage I feel right now.  And so … in a rare step away from my usual fare, I am writing about other things … just for this one post!  I’ll be back in the afternoon with more of what you expect from Filosofa.


A bit of humour …

The McCormick family in Adelaide, Australia, came home to quite a surprise yesterday!  The day before, they had put up their artificial Christmas tree … one that they had owned for lots of years … with a silver, pink and blue theme.  The tree had seen better days, but still … it looked pretty good once they got the lights and decorations on it.

On Wednesday, 16-year-old Taylah was the last to leave the family home in Coromandel Valley, Adelaide around 3pm.  She made sure the dog was outside, closed the back doors and turned off all the lights. When the whole family arrived back around 6pm, something was odd.  Said Taylah …

“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and was sniffing around and Mum thought that was a bit weird. There was baubles all over the floor … and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree. It was pretty tangled up in the lights. It was a fake tree and very old but she still tried eating the leaves off it … I saw her munch down on some but she stopped when she realised it was plastic.”

Taylah’s mother, Amanda McCormick, said she was in shock.

“I thought ‘Is this a joke?’ I thought one of my kids may have put like a soft toy in there, but no, it was a live one.  We’ve had them in our trees before but not inside on our Christmas tree … It must have crawled in when the doors were open, it would have been in our house for at least three hours.”

The family immediately called the Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue, but co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon said the group didn’t believe the story at first.

koala-in-tree

The rescue team quickly arrived to detangle the koala, which Taylah had dubbed Daphne.  Hearne-Hellon said Daphne was a juvenile female around three or four years old and in good health.

Hearne-Hellon said the koala likely just wondered into the home because it liked the look of their tree.

“It’s not actually that hot, so they wouldn’t be seeking shade, particularly at the moment … They are curious, and they are in the suburbs, and if they see something that they want to have a look at they’ll just drop in and have a look.”

I love it!  I’m very thankful to learn that Daphne has been released into a tree in a nearby bushy area.  I wonder if she will visit the McCormicks again?


And a bit of serious …

And now that you’ve had a bit of fun (I hope), you should know that today is National Roof Over Your Head Day.  I chuckled when I first saw that one, but it’s actually quite a serious day.  According to the National Day Calendar website …

National Roof Over Your Head Day was created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head. There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them. 

All across our nation, there are many that do not have the things that necessary to everyday life. They may lack a roof over their heads, enough food to eat, or clothes to wear. For those who have those bare necessities, it may be insufficient. 

The day reminds us to appreciate what you have. This day follows closely after Thanksgiving, a day to be thankful. So just like Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you do have and always remember, that it is a better feeling than worrying about what you do not have.

HOW TO OBSERVE #RoofOverYourHeadDay

To celebrate, pick a name or two off of a Christmas Giving Tree and make someone’s holiday a little better. Volunteer at or make a contribution to a homeless shelter in your area. Your gift may help someone else be able to have a “roof over their head” tonight. Use #RoofOverYourHeadDay to post on social media.

This year especially, there are many people who have lost their job due to the pandemic and cannot pay their rent or mortgage, are in danger of losing their home.  So yes, let’s be thankful for our own situation, and if we can, let’s try to help others out just a bit.

I don’t think most of you are aware, for I don’t share this with many people as a rule, but I was homeless once … not for long, for I had good friends who helped me out, but for a few days, two of my three children and I lived in our car, not knowing what would become of us, so I have had just a small taste of what it’s like, and … it’s damn scary, my friends.


And on that note, let’s end with another bit of non-political humour, shall we?

toon-12toon-14toon-15

Snarky … puff puff … Snippets

More than a few times in the last week, I have found myself dreading to even log onto any of the news sites.  Blogging friend Brian, concerned for my emotional well-being, advised me to take an entire week away from the news, and while I so greatly appreciate him caring, I simply find that I cannot.  Every day brings a new abomination, and somehow, I feel an obligation to keep up.  In part, it is because I think part of the goal of Trump & Co is to overwhelm us to the point that we simply tune out.  I’m determined not to do that … I simply cannot.  A number of my friends and readers have at least partly tuned out, and I understand that … I really do … but I cannot.  Writing this blog is the catharsis that offsets, to a greater or lesser degree, the angst … I think.  Anyway … with that in mind, I can do nothing but give you yet another batch of … Snarky Snippets!


Two thumbs up …

To New York City for a positive move on homelessness.  While Donald Trump, on his visit to California earlier this year, complained that …

“We have people living in our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes.”

Meanwhile, New York City is expected to pass a new bill in the coming week that will force developers of designated affordable-housing projects to set aside 15 percent of the units for the homeless.  This could ultimately add as many as 1,000 apartments for the homeless per year, almost doubling the 1,300 already in existence.  Many other cities have similar requirements, but none as ambitious as this one.

The homeless rate in the United States has increased in recent years, despite Trump’s claims that the economy is doing so great.  New York City alone has increased from 64,000 in 2014 to 79,000 in 2019.  The increase is partly due to stagnant wages … the low unemployment rate doesn’t address wages … and partly to the increased cost of housing.  The rent in my own small (1,190 sq ft) townhouse has increased from $625 when we first rented it in 1998 to $1,162 in 2019 – an 86% increase in 21 years, though nothing has been replaced, not carpet, linoleum, paint, fixtures or appliances, in that time.  And this is in a low-income neighborhood!  How a person earning minimum wage … which, by the way, has not increased since 2009, ten years ago … could afford even basic housing, plus utilities and food, is beyond me!


Disenfranchising more voters?

Earlier this evening, I saw a tweet by my least favoured representative, Warren Davidson, that called for stricter voting laws.  His comparison was ludicrous …

Warren-Davidson“Saying #VoterID laws suppress voter turnout is similar to saying background checks suppress gun ownership. All polling locations should require #VoterID just like all firearms dealers require a background check.”

Since I take great pride in harassing him at least once a day, I responded with an explanation of the difference between gun ownership and voting, and asked him if he was really that stupid, or if he was just pretending.

But, to the point … Donald Trump has had a very low approval rating for the entirety of his presidency, and now he is being impeached.  The republicans are getting worried about his electability … understandable, since they have tied their carts to his pony.  So, red states are trying to pass more restrictive Voter I.D. laws, and anything else they can do to disenfranchise the poor and minorities who tend to vote largely democrat.

The State of Wisconsin has taken an approach that I find absolutely disgusting.  In October, they sent letters to hundreds of thousands of voters, asking them to respond if they were still at that address or to update their registrations if they had moved.  Sounds innocuous enough, right?  Perhaps it was, in the beginning, but conservatives filed a lawsuit alleging that to avoid fraud, the commission should have thrown out the registrations of voters who did not respond to the mailing within 30 days!  The Election Commission had initially planned to throw out those registrations in April of 2021, after the election, if the people who didn’t respond also didn’t vote.

But, on Friday Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy ordered the state to take as many as 234,000 people off its registered-voter list who had not responded to the letter within the 30-day period.  Now, I can tell you that if I received such a letter, it would probably go straight in the trash, for I take such things with a grain of salt and don’t have time for such foolishness.  Turns out that the majority of those letters were sent to voters in districts that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 … coincidence?  I don’t think so.

See, here’s the thing … Trump won Wisconsin by a very narrow margin – less than 1%.  So, there is a push to ensure some of those voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, cannot vote at all in 2020.


A law unto himself …

Remember how there were a number of people who had heard Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, several of whom found the call deeply troubling, and one found the courage to become “the whistle-blower”, which has led to the impeachment that is almost certain to take place on Wednesday?  Well … the Trump administration has fixed that problem for any future phone calls.  According to CNN …

“Donald Trump’s senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President’s phone calls with foreign leaders.  Transcripts of Trump’s calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House, continuing an effort to limit the number of people with insight and information about the conversations.”

It’s rather like the child who, getting caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, learns to make sure that next time, mommy is in the bathroom before dipping into the jar.  Well, it fits, doesn’t it, for we have a child in the Oval Office.

trump-phone-call.jpgMake of this what you will, but I find it deeply concerning.  It’s yet another attempt at covering up his actions, rather than promoting that ‘transparency’ he promised some three years ago.  Remember the ‘swamp’ he was going to drain?  That swamp was a rose garden compared to the swamp he has built.


Well, folks, that’s all I have time for tonight!  Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

Trump-Barr

Snarky Snippets: Filosofa Growls

I awoke this morning to an odd noise that I couldn’t seem to pinpoint.  At first I thought it was a car motor outside, but everywhere in the house I went, the noise stayed the same.  I asked the girls if they could hear the noise (my hearing is strange … I don’t hear what is there, and I often hear that which doesn’t exist), and they said they heard it only when I was near.  Hmmmm … a mystery.  Well, we finally figured out that it was a low, growling sound emanating from somewhere deep in my throat.  Well, you all know what that means, right?  It means that it’s time for … Snarky Snippets!


Donald Trump, whose claim to fame is firing people, who even had a television show that was based solely, from what I’ve heard, on him screaming, “You’re Fired!” every week, is in firing mode this month.  The latest in a series was Matthew Doherty, who until last week served as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.  What, you may ask, did Mr. Doherty do wrong?  Nothing, as far as I can discern, but the timing is interesting.

The council was created in 1987 and is supposed to coordinate the government’s approach to tackling homelessness. It is unclear who will lead the organization now.  Trump has recently promised to take action against California’s homelessness problem, arguing that homelessness hurts the quality of life and the “prestige” of some of its largest cities. One measure that has been discussed is razing the tent camps that house many homeless.

Did Trump fire Mr. Doherty because Doherty is a man of integrity and refused to go along with Trump’s inhumane ideas?  And think about it … what does Trump plan to DO with the homeless people?  Remember, we are talking about people here, not just some things that are lying about detracting from the “prestige” of the cities.  Will he throw the children in cages?  Since for the most part these people are citizens, not immigrants, he cannot send them “back where they came from”, so will he throw the adults into the Pacific Ocean and say, “Sink or swim”?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Remember those tax cuts for the wealthy that Trump & Congress so generously approved in December 2017?  One of the beneficiaries of those tax cuts came onto my radar just this morning.  In 2017, the year prior to the implementation of the new tax cuts, FedEx paid $1.5 billion in taxes.  Last year, however, was a different story … last year FedEx paid -0- in taxes.  That’s right, folks … almost ever single person reading this post paid more taxes in 2018 than the corporation that saw a net income of $4.57 billion in fiscal 2018.  Let that one sink in for a minute.

Now, the rationale for the tax cuts on corporations was that the companies would use the extra money they had on investments that would create more jobs … you know, that ‘trickle down’ theory that has never worked and never will work.  Well, the company spent less in the 2018 fiscal year than it had projected in December 2017, before the tax law passed. It spent even less in 2019. Much of its savings have gone to reward shareholders: FedEx spent more than $2 billion on stock buybacks and dividend increases in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $1.6 billion in 2018, and more than double the amount the company spent on buybacks and dividends in fiscal year 2017.

In a nutshell, the country’s national debt is higher than ever before, the budget deficit (you remember, the one that republicans were so concerned about when Obama was president?) is in the tank, but a lot of rich people got even richer, thanks to their rich friends in the U.S. Congress and in the Oval Office.

Oh, and one last thing … this year, FedEx cut back on employee bonuses in an effort to reduce labour costs.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Just so you know, my friends, Attorney General William Barr says that We the People (those of us who still use our brains to think) are “undermining the rule of law”.  Yes, that’s right.  Trump can break the law, trample the Constitution, and even shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, but it is those of us who disagree with him that are undermining the rule of law!

“Immediately after President [sic] Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called ‘The Resistance’ and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration. The fact of the matter is: that in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systemic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”

He forgets that after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, it was the right that formed the Tea Party movement, and republicans in Congress who conspired to oppose every effort put forward by the incoming administration.  He forgets that the Koch brothers initiated the “Tea Party” movement immediately after Obama’s election, to shout down democratic lawmakers, protest in the streets and at state capitols across the nation, and even protest violently outside of the U.S. Capitol building. Some of them reportedly spit on lawmakers as they were walking into Congress to vote on healthcare legislation, and some called black lawmakers the N-word.

Yet it is those of us who want the madman out of the Oval Office, who wish to restore some integrity and intelligence to the position of president, who are “undermining the rule of law”???????

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Okay, folks, I think I’ve growled so much that my throat hurts, so I’ll stop here and leave you with a bit of humour.

Good People Doing Good Things — Small, Yet Big!

It’s time for our weekly dose of good people, and I don’t know about you guys, but after this past week, I definitely feel the need to see people helping people instead of the usual, “I got mine, I’ll take yours too” attitude.  I’m focusing on small things today … and some small people with huge hearts.  These kids may be small in stature, but they are big on the things that matter most.  Gronda, get your tissues. box of tissues


Seven years old and already an environmental activist!

Benjamin Ball of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is only 7-years-old, but is more environmentally savvy than most of us.  Not long ago, Benjamin and his family were visiting in New England and they stopped in at the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  When they decided to get a drink at the store’s café, Benjamin was not pleased to be given a plastic straw, and he asked if they had any paper straws.  (Ellen — this reminds me of your Benjamin!)

LLBeanThey didn’t, and so when Benjamin returned home, he wrote a letter to the president and CEO of L.L.Bean, Steve Smith.

“I’m writing to you because I’m a friend of the Sea Turtles and I want to protect them. Marine animals get killed by plastic in the Ocean. The Sea Turtles are important to the ecosystem and me. I know that L.L. Bean cares about the Earth too. If it is possible, could you use paper straws instead of plastic straws, please?”

Sea turtleWow … what a polite little activist!  Well, his efforts paid off, for within 24 hours, Benjamin received a response from Smith, who assured Benjamin he’d look into the issue.  Says Smith …

“It made me smile. It was a really articulate, well-reasoned, polite, yet passionate and emotional note about saving a species that no one is speaking for. It hit me in a really emotional way.”

And Smith has lived up to his response. L.L. Bean has announced that its retail affiliates and employee cafeterias would be making the switch to 100% corn biodegradable straws.

“This letter hits at the absolutely perfect time with a fantastic idea.”

Benjamin even got to meet Mr. Smith when Smith visited his alma mater, Dickinson College, located in Ben’s hometown.  Take a look …

Hats off to young Benjamin for looking after the environment and especially the sea turtles, but kudos to Mr. Smith and L.L.Bean for listening to a little boy and for being willing to make changes for a good cause.  This is what cooperation looks like, and it is people like Benjamin and Steve who will save our planet, if it is to be saved.Benjamin-Steve


Not homeless anymore!

Anthony Johnson, of Sussex, England, was homeless, living in a tent with no job, no money.  But even so, Anthony wasn’t lazy … he really wanted to earn his own way, but life hadn’t been kind to him and he found himself in this situation.  Anthony posted a note at a local bus stop …

“I will do a trial for free to show how I work. I don’t take drugs or drink. I will also do dog walking/minding, window cleaning, shopping, gardening, car valeting/washing, housework, cooking. Anything to earn a living and make life seem worth living.”

Anthony-Johnson-note

Just so happened that a young lady named Charlotte Howard noticed Anthony’s note as she was waiting for a bus and sprang into action.  First, she photographed the note, and Mr. Johnson’s tent near the bus station, and then she posted the pictures on social media.  Next, she set up a GoFundMe account  that received more than $3,200 (£2,466) in just over 10 days.

Ms. Howard had planned to use the money to buy Anthony a small RV, or caravan as they are called on that side of the pond, but since a local charity was inspired to donate a caravan to Johnson, the money will now be used to provide him with supplies, food, and additional resources to make up for his last nine years of living on the streets.

But the best is yet to come.  A local landscaper, Nelson Smith, contacted Anthony and asked if he would be interested in starting a home repair business with him, so Anthony is now employed, has a place to call ‘home’, and has a job too!  All thanks to a young lady 16 years of age, who decided to step up to the plate and help another human being.  Lots of thumbs-up to go around here, to Nelson Smith, to all the people who donated goods or cash, and most especially to Charlotte Howard!  See, folks, this is what it’s all about … people helping people.

Anthony-Johnson-Nelson-Smith

Anthony Johnson (left) and Nelson Smith.  Anthony’s new home is inset.


And he can’t even drive!

William Rabillo is not yet old enough to drive, but he did manage to buy a car … for his mom.  I’ll let William’s mom, Krystal, tell you about it …

“I have no words right now that can express how I am feeling at this moment. I’m in complete shock … The last couple weeks have literally been hell filled with so many tears, anger, confusion and heart ache. Today I got the shock of my life..

As some of you may know my son William, who is a lawn mowing, yard cleaning , money making machine. Well my son had a job today that he had to go do and so I allowed him to go assuming it was like any other time. Well this time was different. Very different.

William came home and said, ‘Mom I bought you a car.’

I of course laughed and told him ‘ya right!’

He said, ‘No mom I’m so serious I bought you a car. Come on we have to go.’

I’m at this point confused and sceptical and I said, ‘Go where?’

He said, ‘With this lady.’

And much to my surprise I go in my front yard and OMG there is a women standing there and as William said she was giving us a ride. William jumps in the car so I’m like ok?? This is some kind of joke right. No one speaks really….

So….. As I’m still thinking at this point still a joke. We pull up to this house and William says, ‘Mom that’s your car….’

I completely lost it.

I started balling my eyes out. I am speechless my 13 year old son bought me a car. He did some work for this women and that was his payment that he worked out with her. And here I thought it was a joke… Nope I was handed the keys and paperwork to the car and I’m freaking out but so in shock like OMG this is happening right now. So we got into the car it started right up and off we went.

I am so proud of my son. He is such a good kid. He may have his days but OMG what 13 year old kid do you know that buys his mom a car… William I love you son and thank you. You have such a big heart and I love you…”

William says he first got the idea from a couple of YouTube videos …

“I saw on YouTube where people get their mom a car and then surprise her with it. I wanted to do that.”

So, William started searching ads on Facebook and came across a woman selling a  ’99 Chevy Metro for only $300.

William-Rabillo

“It was really cheap so I asked her if I could trade it or earn it, and at first she said no. After she thought about it, then she said yes.”

William actually gave the woman his Xbox video game console, and will be doing some chores for her, which is nothing new, for William already does yard chores for neighbors nearly every day.  This is a kid who decides he wants to do something and there’s no stopping him.  I predict he will go far in this world.


So, we’ve just seen three remarkable young people that show us how it’s done, this humanity thing!  They are an inspiration, and if there is hope for the future of the human race, these kids are the ones that will help make it happen.