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Thanksgiving & Christmas a magical time of Good Cheer, Love, Giving, Caring & Sharing. A time for, Dreams and Wishes to come true.. When I close my eyes, I see a vision of a fire place in a cozy country family room. Hanging along the mantel, red & white furry stockings embellished with names written with silver glitter, playfully twinkling like a thousand tiny stars... Over by a huge picture window a 6 ft. Christmas tree, its multi color lights dancing throughout the tree. Ornaments carefully unwrapped and placed so meticulously among the branches..Rows of garland draped so gently along the boughs. Gifts wrapped up in festive paper with ribbons and bows. Picture Perfect? My heart is filled with love and joy...accept for this one place...there beats a sadness.One I feel every day...But especially at this time of the year...for the homeless...Is there a place in your heart for them?

My child hood was spent pretty much in the suburbs in Michigan. Clean middle class neighbor hoods..Some of the people who lived there were considered poor..Although they also had homes and vehicles to drive..They were basically living hand to mouth..When I turned 17 I moved to Detroit..Not far from Tiger Stadium.. I moved in with my boyfriend. He was born and raised there. So seeing the life the homeless lived was nothing new for him..One night it was about this time of year we were out walking in Clark Park...and I seen like 5 or 6 people sleeping on the park benches. Covered with news papers and cardboard..I had never seen anything like this accept on TV.. I asked why don't they go to a shelter..I was told that most of them stay full..And they don't like to take you in if you have a drug problem..I felt so bad. Guilt poured through me like water over a falls... I was so shocked..This is America...Why would anyone here be poor enough to have to sleep out in the cold..Can't they get welfare, disability...something anything..A single thought kept passing through my mind..What Would Jesus Do? I wanted to go and buy hundreds of blankets, scarves, mittens, hats, warm coats and shoes or boots... I knew in my heart that this jester would barely skim the surface..I felt helpless...

Back when I lived in Michigan I went grocery shopping at Kroger one morning after dropping my kids off at school....I had a cart full of pop bottles to turn in for money. I took my place in the return line..Then I noticed this woman standing a few feet from me..She had like 10 bottles and a few cans..I looked up at her..she had a plastic bag, like from the grocery store..on her head for a hat, she also had several of them wrapped around her hands for gloves. My heart sank..As for clothes best I could tell she had on a long skirt to the ground, over that another skirt that went down to about where her knees would be..All I could see on top was a sweater of some kind under her dirty ripped up coat that came just about mid thigh..a pair of tore up shoes..I almost started crying..I kept asking myself how did this poor woman get to this level in her life..This is not an under developed country where people are born into a life like this..We have programs, agencies, shelters, unemployment, welfare...Then I noticed she was looking at me...I felt shame flood over me as I stood there in my warm winter attire...I decided to make a move here..I didn't want to embarrass her and draw more attention to her..So I walked over to her smiling. I said good morning..These lines can take forever smile She just stared at the ground..I then noticed a smell coming from her that made my eye water..Oh no.. Where had this poor woman been living..My guess would be a dumpster..When she looked back up I said..I noticed you have lost your gloves, scarf and hat..I took mine off and handed them to her and said go ahead and keep them I have others at home..*smile* She looked so grateful and thankful..She then smiled back at me...As she was putting on her things I took her hand in mine and slipped her 20.00..It wasn't much but all I had in my wallet..I whispered to her..Take this and get something for yourself.. I told her God Bless..She quietly thanked me. We both cashed in our bottles and I went one way and she the other..I wanted to just take her home for some good food and a hot bath..Some clean clothes. And take her to the welfare dept...I used to tell my friends..If I am ever so fortunate as to come into a substantial amount of money..I would use it to buy a few of those empty warehouses in down town Detroit and turn them into shelters for the homeless..have a medical person on staff as a volunteer to give them the medical care they needed..
In closing I will say that it disturbs me a great deal to see on TV all those movie stars and such asking us Americans to donate money to support a starving child in a third world country..Why not take care of our own..Right here in the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave...God Bless America..
So I ask again... Is There A Place In Your Heart For The Homeless...What Would Jesus Do?  



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Kat...I would agree.  We have people right here in our own country that need help and most would appreciate it.  I know there are some (as there always are) that just depend on handouts  but never really appreciate it.  Those are the ones that make it bad for others.  

      You know....I’m like you.  I can’t solve everything or make everything better...but I can help who I can and I do.  

      If we all do something....it’s amazing what can be accomplished as a whole.  

      Thanks for your story....it’s a great reminder.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darla5 wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Girl, This was a wake up article that all of us should take to heart. I posted a few weeks back what Don did fo a homeless person here in Birminhgam.

      My heart breaks for this cause. We have a place called Jimmy Hale’s missions here locally. IT is always full and they do so much to help the down and out.  Thanksgiving is one of their biggest events.

      Please gals think of dropping off clothes to the shelter or just an extra bag of food would mean so much.

      From my understanding their stock of food and clothing is down because of the economy. They need our help more than ever.  

      I have been so blessed. I walk in my closet and I have so many things with tags on them still. Over 100 pairs of shoes and the list goes on. What could I do with the money from just one designer bag?

      We do alot for worthy causes several times of year but we can still do more. We can all make a difference in the life of a woman, man or child . A big difference.

      We need to be the change!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I have a huge family! Now that I have moved away from them the holidays just are not the same. Of course, I cook all the foods and carry on all the traditions for my children, but it’s just the 4 of us. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially Thanksgiving. I ask my children and husband if there is anyone that doesn’t have family near by to invite them to share our blessings with us.  

      Each and every year, I think about all the homeless that I could feed. OMGosh! I just thought of something! Our county just sent volunteers out to try to get a count on the homeless here so they could request funds to help them. I was amazed that there are so many right here in my town. I think this year I will fix some plates of Thanksgiving food and take them to these beautiful folks who are forced to live under bridges.
      I'm actually kind of dissapointed in myself  that I never thought about this before. It would be the easiest thing in the world to do.

      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Katamaroon, for putting this on my heart today. I’m always trying to figure out how I can bless someone. This may sound selfish, but it really does my heart good when I am able to contribute in a way that doesn’t involve alot of money. I count all my pennies!

      I have learned over the years that it’s the blessings that don’t cost $$$$ that mean the most.
      I love you for sparking this desire to do good in my heart today.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chrissyandcoco wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Rena,
      This is a wonderful and thought provoking blog.  I try to think constantly of ways that I can help.  I am so sadden by people that need our help and I ask how much can one person do. Two people can attack a problem that would defeat one just think of what 10,000 members could do! "Read Ecclesiastes 4:12 in your bible. We began a business a little over a year ago with hope of helping others as we grow and (my profile explains more) build legacy for the future with substance for giving, helping but not solely monetarily.  As we talk about Fab 40 and chapters develop we as a huge group can get together and do so much.  And don't you all think that we would enjoy the time spent with our friends doing something that helps others?  We can laugh and cut up on here as I ENJOY doing and we should but why not spend some of our time working together to do something GREAT?  When faced with life's challenges, if I seek out others to accompany me, I often accomplish so much more.  We can as a community of members lift some of the burdens and ease some of the pain and heaviness.   I have heard that if each Christian did their part to give 10% of their TIME and/or money we could eradicate most the worlds poverty.

      Things and STUFF,"our possessions",  require up keep and the more we acquire the more time and effort we spend taking care of that STUFF and buying more STUFF to take care of the STUFF we have or accompany it!  It is a vicious cycle.  I know because like myself and many of my friends I have been blessed with a wonderful family, comfy home, and lots of STUFF.  At this point I'm ready to UNLOAD and reduce INVENTORY! And my husband would welcome that plan of action! GLADLY!!! We are now empty nesters but our nest is still full of STUFF. Three children and they left lots of STUFF with our STUFF!!!  

       I think when the" mastermind ( a small group of ladies that pow wow about entrepreneurial ideas from Fab 40) group" was talking together someone mentioned starting a blog about ways to donate to help other members with needs or someone they knew about that had a need. In other words we may have something or STUFF that we no longer need or want that we could send to someone that does.  Maybe we could start a GIFT giving blog where people post things that they need or want (BIG and small) for themselves or others and "US", as members, could look and see if we have that something that we could donate.  I could begin a list of things I want to get rid of!!! This is a hot topic for my husband and me right now.  In fact we just talked about it this morning!!!  Postage is expensive though and gas is too (but coming down a good bit).  I believe our biggest issue would be getting the items to the person wanting or needing it with as little expense as possible. Often the item that we send may cost almost as much to get rid of as the item is worth.  I had that happen two days ago. Well, the item was worth say $50 but it cost $35 to mail. Wish that we could come up with away for US Postal Service, UPS or FEDEX to join our cause! Why not ask?  Anyone know that answer?  Even if it were only a short time or at a reduced rate. That would greatly help!  We also have a local community classifieds(via the internet) where people sell and give items away.  But we are in a small college town.  This would be a much BIGGER task and it needs to go to NEEDY not GREEDY! And maybe it needs to stay local.
      Just THINKIN' out loud again! I know it is SCARY!
      Lots of Love,
      Gayle
      [Link Removed]    (a work in progress)


      Chrissyandcoco, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Darla, you are so right! I donate all of our things to the Quinn House here in town. It’s a wonderful place. A few months ago they ran an article in the local paper. It explained how the food donated to them that would normally last thru Christmas was already to a bare minimum because there are so many more people needing help. Especially single Mom’s. These are Mother’s who work very hard to keep their children fed, clothed and provide necessities. I admire them tremendously. It’s not only single parents, it’s people of all walks of life that could benefit.
      If you can’t afford to buy extra food to donate, you can go thru your own cabinets. Nothing out dated of course, but I am always picking up little things that for some reason or another I haven’t used yet. One can of soup and a loaf of bread can feed two people easily.
      There are so many foundations that provide food for the homeless. The one here is “Hosea Williams Feed the Homeless“. He is no longer with us, but his daughter has carried on his mission to feed these folks. They always need volunteers to help them cook, organize, serve, clean, wash dishes, these things don’t cost a penny. We need lot’s more men like Hosea.
      He always and they still do.....have the Thanksgiving lunch at Turner Field Home of the Atlanta Braves uh um...just had to throw my Bravo's in there. It's a beautiful thing to see all those smiling faces, talking and trading stories with each other.
      One day I will learn how to put all these words into a couple of sentences. Sorry for not coming up for air sometimes! - 0(



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Great idea...LC....

      I’m thinking of going to the Salvation Army on Christmas Day this year and feeding the homeless breakfast.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rena Bennefield wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • To Clarify My Meaning of Previous Post:

      I don't mean to be preachy here but I just felt the need to clarify what I meant when speaking about the 3rd world country support..The commercials and /or lack of ones for our homeless that made me write this. It just bothered me to not see any commercials or endorsements from Movie Stars and such..Telling us to help those here at home.. Mary the Salvation Army is a great Idea.. lcmiddle Doing that would make some people very happy..Great Idea..Darla..I am guilty as well of having so many things that I still have tags on some as well..Lol. I am spoiled and very fortunate to be with Jerry..He has a great job and he is great with finances..I love giving things to others ..This one apartment I lived in..when I would go through my closet and thin it out I put the things I didn't want any more in a big box and write on it FREE TO PERSON WHO NEEDS THEM..By the day's end they were gone..

      I read over my post and I realize that I may have sounded a bit callous towards those in other countries, 3rd world countries, who have been supported by our country and many of us here in the USA.. It was not my intention to do that.. I hat e human suffering of any kind or any place..I am just a big ol softy..  =)I myself about 25 yrs ago supported a small boy over there for a few years..I guess what I was trying to say is that with our economy and everything coming down on our heads..Gas prices..Cost of Food..And so on..There are going to be sooo many here at home that will be homeless and without..I see many commercials about supporting other countries..But have yet to see any about the ones here that are starving and freezing..Some are whole families with no way to care for them..Because of no job opportunities.. What got me on this subject was a call from my mother who still lives up there. She told me how bad things have gotten and now with the possibility of the Big 3 car companies going down..More will flood the unemployment lines and the streets..I believe we as a Country are in God's hands..I know if this is His will, we will endure this for Him..I know this Christmas we are not going to be spending like we have been..This may sound a bit farfetched but..I believe a lot of people will be celebrating Christmas with fewer gifts..Maybe we will all be spending it praying and thinking about Jesus ...After all it is His Day Right!  Maybe for the first time in a long time Christmas may hold the Spirit of its true self..I know I look around at what I have and I am much more appreciative of what I have...and much more aware of what Blessings I Have Gotten and just because all was well..I seemed to have forgotten some times to remember it was by His grace that I have any of this...Thanks Again Ladies..



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • They say it takes a village to raise a child........Mary, it only takes one volunteer to make a huge diffence in a childs life.
      We all need a little poke sometimes to see how very fortunate we are to have a roof over heads even if it leaks and food on the table, even if it’s not exactly what we want.
      My heart is pounding! As you can tell, I’m not passionate about this at all. LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Katamaroon, I felt you intent totally. I agree with you. It’s almost as if we try to hide our problems here in this country. I believe we need to help other countries, by all means. But I also believe that people here are in great need of help also.
      I loved your story.
      Lisa



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Kataramoon....sorry! It’s not Katamaroon.....I guess I need a couple more cups of coffee this morning. haha



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Kat...I didn’t take it that way.  I think all people need help all over the world....but you are right...we have people in our own towns that need it.  So why not start there?  

      Your blog is great.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chrissyandcoco wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I think we all understand what your/our intention is, human suffering no matter where it is, is awful!  My heart has been so heavy lately.  One of my childhood friends called me two weeks ago to say that the company her husband works for is closing down after 26 years of service he ends up with little to nothing and three days later she was laid off.  Our pastor's sister's home burned to the ground and our pastor has even had his hours cut where he works.  We however are fortunate, higher education where my husband is usually throughout history survives economic downturns because people often try to learn a new trade or change career directions and return to the classroom for help.  My husband's job however as the Financial Administrator sees first hand what our economic downturn is doing to even the endowments of hundreds of millions that he manages. Times are scary but we as caring concerned people can come together and help.  I've told my girl friends that it may come to us being in communal living situations! I mean real communal living like in the same house taking care of each other! I was half joking! Staying positive is a must do!

      I think what got me going recently is obviously what we see everyday or what we all hear and I read a story about a lady in "Traditional Home Magazine" (Nov. issue) And our pastor contacted me about people that he preached about in Haiti when he went there on a mission trip and he said the island is primarily run by and owned by a big sugar company.  He saw people making something out of dirt, water and sugar cane to eat. It JERKED me bad. The story I speak about in "Traditional Home", is Rising Star Outreach and the story was about a lady named Becky Douglas. I was torn up and could literally see the face that she describes haunting her after a visit to India. I also have volunteered locally(not enough) in what I am told is one of the poorest counties in our country (Grundy County TN) and it is frightening what I see.  I have been haunted by scenes but I believe that it is much more daunting and horrifying if you have ever been there (I am sure that you NEVER want to go back. I have no idea what that must be like! It has to be a living HELL! We have had times when we counted our pennies but God has always provided for us.  I am BLESSED! And I am so truly thankful.  But I want to show it more in what I do for others.  Man I'm yappy today who pulled my cord? Ok... I'm always yappy!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • I love this discussion!!!

      I think it is great to help the 3rd world countries!
      BUT, we have our own right here. We should be helping our people first in order to become strong. Then we can really make a difference for others.

      It amazes me that there is even one hungry person in our Country, or people sleeping on the streets.  

      What you did in that store Kat, and your post had me in tears.  

      I once saw a young girl with her baby outside of a grocery store. I went in the store, bought some food and formula and milk and anything I could think of. When i came out, I quietly placed it in her very full of blankets etc shopping cart. I asked her if there was somewhere I could take them. She said no, she is fine and they will be ok. I asked her if she wanted to go and eat. She said no. So as I started walking away, she grabbed my hand and said thank you! I’ll never forget her eyes. I got in my car and cried. I was 19 and it changed the way I look at people now.  

      I tell hubz, if we win the lottery, (wishful thinking) we may not see alot of the money as i want to be able to open some sort of old bldg downtown and renovate for a shelter and drug rehab.  

      Ok before i ramble on, lol, gr8 discussion!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Kataramoon, I loved what you wrote and many nights Ive laid in my cozy bed, thinking the same thoughts, why cant everyone have security and safety ?  I worry about the homeless.  

      My last trip in LA, my daughter and I were at a gas station and the cutest homeless lady came up and was sifting in the trash she was older and we had rasins in the car in a bag and tea.. we gave her the rasins and tea and she said.. Rasins.. I was thinking just today I would like rasins.  

      Why is this woman on the streets, alone with no family.. no loved ones ?  Digging in the garbage.. she was soo sweet.. and so thankful.  Isnt there somewhere she could live in dignity as a Human Being.. ?  

      It is my understanding that many of the homeless are or have mental problems and therefore do not like being at shelters, and live on streets by choice rather than deal with shelters and shelters rules.  A friend of mine is an Ex Marine Intel / Airborne also but he said that most of your homeless are vietnam vets that were unaccepted when they returned from fighting for our country. And some hooked on drugs and of course your drug addicted people too.  

      I dont know what the solution is.   I kept thinking if Each person in America was given a small apartment with water and basic foods, would this solve the problem.  

      Or would it create a finacial burden.  

      I was thinking if American’s were given a choice of government funded living as a option in case of crisis.. if needed no job, mentally ill, down on luck.. at least people would have a fall back place to stay.  

      My fear is people would just live there and never leave.. never get jobs never work or move forward..  

      I just dont know the solution.. its a problem they wieghts greatly on my heart..  

      In Los Angeles I see a couple I am guessing married living near a Home Depot off of Sunset Blvd.. We leave hot bags of food for them and they lay there all day.. never leaving thier home.. the side of a building near the air compressor.. You see them laying under the same dirty blanket.. day by day.. Why ????

      Kataramoon.. this is such a good post..  

      What can we do to help ?  Is there a solution ?  Why is this happening in our Country ?  With the Mortgage crisis, will we see this more ?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie Hempsey wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • A few years ago my husband and kids went to all the stores in the Mall and a local outdoor market at Christmas time and asked for donations for needy and homeless children and adults. Unbelievably they came home with tons of stuff including a GIANT Mickey and Minnie mouse donated by the Disney Store, i was shocked. I was working at our local elementary school at the time and got the school nurse to give me the names of the kids who were on the list to receive food baskets. Turns out several of them were from families living in a local hotel and are transient due to domestic violence  and other issues. Well..i visited a few of them with the food baskets and they had nothing...no way to cook the food. Got a few people on board and go them hot plates and even one a small microwave and Target donated 8 fully decorated trees. We invited them all to my home 2 days before Christmas. There were 4 families...those kids left with toys, hats, gloves, socks, shirst coats, hair ties, sweat suits,there were even a few things for the moms and one father was with them and he was a big guy and i gave him a gift i had wrapped for my hubby,it as a quilted flannel. That was the best Christmas we ever had. My daughter just asked a couple of days ago if we could do this again this year. I am thinking...Yes! We are blessed , even though times are tough, we are still capable of sharing our resources. Thank you Kat for bringing this to light! What you did for that woman was amazing...i couldn’t even read it because i was tearing so much. You are a beautiful person.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rena Bennefield wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Mztracy... Awwww I read your comment and I got that big lump thing in my throat and my eyes had tears in them..It breaks my heart to see our people here in a country so rich in everything..To see a child or anyone cold, hungry, or sick..It breaks my heart...and what you did will be something she will remember on her coldest, loneliest nights..It will bring warmth to her heart..
      Teeky that's awesome for you..WOW to have a chance to give that much back is..Just so amazing...I always wanted to be a Big Sister to someone..But I never go to do it officially..But I was the Mom to all the kids in the neighborhood..And I loved it..They made me feel so special just to be able to make them smile..
      Greeneyedlady..I think we will see it more and more..I can only imagine what my home town of Detroit will be like if they let the Big3 car companies go under..It will be so bad...and you know crime will sky rocket..God it used to be a hand full of people now it's looking like half the country will be in the streets..What's going to become of us..I been thanking God every night for our live we have here..But for how long..I don't believe anyone is going to go unscathed by this impending dome..Accept all those rich Movie stars and politicians and musician.. I give to the Goodwill and I don't take a tax credit for it either..I also leave bags of clothes next to the houses where people I know who are suffering or when I lived in an apartment building..I would leave boxes down in the laundry room..with a sign that said If in need please take what you need...I would see them walking around wearing them..so I know my stuff went to someone who needed it..
      Irish... That's awesome..And I always involved my kids in this kind of stuff as well. It's a good lesson to learn..
      Pepper.. thank you for your kind words..I have given to a pantry before..It is a great idea..But I have never given pet food before..I have to look in my area to see where I can help out our 4 legged friends..Thank you for that input.. And your Great Grandma was soooo right.. =)
      Azdana... Yes this is something that is going to only get more and more out of hand.. We do need support from one another..We all need each other ..



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • i love this blog! if you read my blog about my friend Billy, my children and i had went to Pontiac Rescue Mission, on Thanksgiving day one year, and helped feed the residents Thanksgiving dinner! how blessed it was for my children and i to see those in need, and to help out!

      i always give my childrens clothing that they outgrow to Churches that have ” clothing closets ” so that people can have access to them..

      Tori, after i was left here in this new state with no job, and not knowing how to get to the grocery store, i applied to ” Bridge of Hope ” and another place ” New Beginnings ” and was prayerfully chose for ” New Beginnings ”

      i wish i could aford to buy ALOT of yarn, and crochet these afgans that i do! id be giving them out in a minute! i am not at the point in my life where i can financially help others, however, i can and do go to my cupboard and give food.

      i too think those empty buildings in Detroit, or anywhere for that matter should, and could be used for the homeless, instead of tearing them down, and putting in new banks, or stores, etc..

      if we get something started, please count me in!
      God Bless!
      Linni



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