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You know, this community used to do a lot of charitable work - we've raised as much as $5,000 at one event which we donated to Emmaus Services for the Aging (thanks in part to the generosity of Michael Landrum).

As some of you know, I became badly injured, probably permanently injured, in 2009, and that charitable component has diminished over the past decade because I haven't been able to do things like I could.

What none of you know is that, relative to my net worth, I spend a disproportionate amount of time and money helping the neediest of the needy, but there's only so much I can do on my own. 

Tonight on the way back from picking up my $32 pizza and $15 gelato at Happy Gyro, I remembered I had a case of 1.5-liter Deer Park water in my trunk that I bought a long time ago, and felt guilty about because of all the plastic. Earlier in the day, DIShGo and I went to see some outdoor sculptures in DC, and came across a homeless encampment by a statue - on the ground around the base of this statue was an assortment of discarded clothing that was so filthy that each piece looked like it had been rubbed in mud, or worse. On the way home, I detoured back to it, parked, and gave each person two bottles of the Deer Park - presumably to drink once it cooled off in the evening, and then to use as a chamber pot during the night. It was disproportionate how grateful they were for such a negligible act, and it got me thinking - would any of our members like to fill up my trunk with items that these people could use? I don't mind starting small, but it would be nice to make this a regular thing - you'll need to use common sense (no canned goods that require a can opener (unless there's also a can opener), nothing that can easily spoil, etc.), but food, drinks, clothing, forks, plates, games for entertainment, soap, water, towels, pillows, blankets, socks, disposable razors, battery-powered fans, waterproof gear, tarps to protect their porous tents from deluges like we had tonight (these tents were porous and collapsing, and the blankets inside were wool - these people are sleeping soaking wet tonight) - any and all of these things, and more, will be used and appreciated more than if you haul them off to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Just use your imagination, try and put yourself in their place (no electricity, no nothing), and think of what types of things they might need - these people are surviving day-to-day, and couldn't possibly be thinking about the long term, not in their situation, so the essentials are what they could use most.

I remember about fifteen years ago, a friend of mine worked as a bartender at Equinox - he suggested I do this, and I did. One night on the way to have dinner there, I took a box of old clothing - sweaters, jackets, shoes - parked on H Street, walked over to Lafayette Park, put down the box, and went to dinner. When I came back an hour later, I looked, and the box was gone.

If anyone is interested in doing this type of thing, I'm happy to deliver even just a few things - I'll eventually need to learn more about where these encampments are, but I know enough to get started. If anyone is willing to make some healthy sandwiches, I'll try and get to know some of these people, and let them know that we're bringing them dinner (I'll need some time to earn their trust first).


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Many years ago, my job at the NYS Office of Mental Health was to oversee the contracts with local non-profit corporations that served the mentally ill, including the large homeless segment of that population.  One of the agencies that I admired from the time they were formed to the time I retired was Pathways to Housing, then a local NYC agency.  It was headed by an Executive Director, Dr. Sam Tsemberis, whom I became friendly with and even played tennis with (beating him to a pulp of course).  If you (Don) or anyone else is so inclined, here's some background info on it  https://www.pathwayshousingfirst.org  & here's the link to the D.C. agency https://pathwaystohousingdc.org. I don't know the current leadership & certainly not the D.C. folk, but I'd guess that they're continuing the great work they've always done.  And, of course, if you want to reach out to Sam and drop my name, he may not hang up.

On specific topic, I greatly appreciate your above post and think that any such help is greatly needed at all times, but especially now.

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