Monthly Archives: February 2014

Everyone knows that one of the flagship services of the Rhode Island Dream Center is the Food Truck. We are about to wrap up our fifth year feeding the homeless through this program, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for a little history lesson

It actually started as the Live it Up Food Truck with a lot of help from Pastor Levi Pangburn, Chuck Johnson, Mike Harris and the support of Praise Tabernacle Church.  Check out what our first truck looked like:

Original Food Truck

Original Food Truck

Ever wonder what prompted us to send that old truck out?

Back on January 2, 2009, Paul Langlos, a 41-year-old homeless man, died in his sleep in the bitter cold under the Crawford Street Bridge Downtown Providence.  A rotten event, to say the least – and, unfortunately, this is not an isolated event.

At the same time, the city’s homeless were banding together politically to get their stories out there and their voices heard. The homeless came together to commemorate the spot and Hope City (commonly known as Tent City) was organized under said bridge as a thriving community and a place for them to call home, literally. They set up tents and said, ‘we’re gonna watch out for each other and make sure no one dies out here again’…Hope City was born and it doubled as a memorial of sorts for this young man and all the others that have succumbed to the elements and the streets.

Take a look at this video I recently found that explains the camp much better than I ever could (snarkyness aside): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmi7KtMauJw

Members of Praise Tabernacle Church sprung into action to help John Joyce (we miss you John!!!) and his crew, and the Live It Up Food Truck was born.

There were already a handful of soup kitchens in the city, so we searched for a way that we could make a difference.  Instead of setting up a soup kitchen so the homeless could come to us, we decided to develop a mobile soup kitchen to go visit them!   Someone went looking for a box truck, another decided on a route, another rounded up volunteers to cook food collect donations…and…

Viola…within a few months, everything had come together and we were bringing out hot soup, a fresh piece of bread, and a hot cup of coffee to Hope City and other area homeless communities. As more tent cities sprung up, we found more places to drive to and more people to feed. I remember feeding a community on Cranston Street with about 8 tents, a few more people at Roger Williams Memorial Park on North Main Street, a group with about 20 tents across the pond from Hope City and eventually a large community under the George Washington Bridge in East Providence known as Camp Runamuck.

That was way back in 2009 – this is 2014, and the Food Truck is still going strong…check this out – someone actually donated a brand new truck to us when our old box truck decided it didn’t have any more life in it (I’ll always remember breaking down on the highway in that old truck and the way the exhaust fumes used to rise through the floorboards and choke us out when we were stopped at a red light):

Food Truck

This new truck means we never have to worry about breaking down anymore.  We have even added two more days to the original route – on Sunday afternoons we go to the usual spots and on Saturday mornings we visit downtown Providence with the Early Seekers…

Depending on the day of the month, we pass out between 60 and 120 free meals on the Food Truck.

Every once in a while, one of our guests will take me aside and thank me, letting me know that it is the only food he has eaten for the day…when someone tell me this I always try to sneak them seconds!!! I’m reminded of an older gentleman who comes out to greet me at the Overflow in Cranston, saying “I’ve been thinking about and looking forward to this cup of hot cocoa ALL DAY LONG!!!” What a feeling it is to be able to make someone’s day with such a simple gesture. Over the years. I’ve fed people on their first day out of the ACI, people struggling with long-term homelessness and people temporarily out there on the streets for any number of reasons.  I have gotten to meet some really great people, both clients and volunteers (I met my wonderful wife through the Food Truck).  Some of the people I used to feed have even made it out of homelessness and now help us out. I think of people like Andy, Maria and William – I used to feed them but now they serve along with me as a way to give back. I’m so proud of these guys.  There are others, like George, who are all-star volunteers on the Food Truck and volunteer week after week after week.

As the years went by and Praise Tabernacle birthed the RI Dream Center, the countless volunteers that donated time, energy and money throughout the years raised the Food Truck to maturity – I am so thankful for all your support, and we would not have been able to do any of  what we do without you!!!!

Thanks to all who have played a part in making the Food Truck a success. We truly appreciate the love you have poured out on our community.

In closing, the Food Truck costs at least $1000/month to operate, so if you’d like to make a donation to help us out, please visit our website at www.ridreamcenter.com and give whatever you can – one-time donations are great, and recurring donations help us budget.

So, thanks for checking in today – we want to make sure no one else passes away under our watch…not under bridges, not in doorways, not ANYWHERE!!!!

Be sure to check in soon for future posts to the Dream Center Diary!

We’d love to hear from you:

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So the Early Seekers Team had a great day this morning.  Even though it was cold, some wonderful friends warmed their hearts…for more details, please see their updates below:  (I love the Early Seekers!!!!!)

Update 1:

The Early Seekers Ministry is in great need of many items for the  homeless on the streets of Providence. Many of whom are Veterans. If you  are not familiar with us, what we do is meet every Saturday morning at 6:30  AM,  at Kennedy Plaza in front of the bus station. We provide  food, clothing, snacks, beverages, hot coffee and hygienic products for  those who have little to nothing to survive on. If you are able to help,  we are in need of  hygienic products such as soap, lotion, shampoo, razors,  shave cream, etc. as well as socks, cookies, crackers,  apples, bananas, coffee, powdered creamer, sugar pkts, mayo ,mustard  etc.
 
Week after week, the need is getting greater. Right now we are  feeding and providing for 200 -300.
 We are asking anyone who can…. to place a collection  box at your place of employment  or business.  Sharon Cogean sets  up a box  at her office and people bring in all the  complementary toiletries they have gotten from hotels  etc.  This has been a great blessing to  us.  Anything You can do to help would be a huge  blessing. 
 
We will work with you to get the donations to us. 
 
Thank you , Love and Blessings, Jan
 
PS…. Thank You Sharon Cogean for all the much-needed items you are  always providing for us !
 
 and Thank you to all those who provide sandwiches for us every  week… Barbara and Bill McKeon, Josephine  Zinni, Maria, and  Lynn Tatarian, Tommy and Tracy King, Bola, Colleen and Ken,  Dianne. the many friends that make them for Lidia,  All the Early  Seekers who make them as well. And those I may have left out,( sorry if I  did,) God knows who you are. (But Please let me know who you are so I  won’t  forget  you in the future.)
Update 2:

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Spring is on the way!! since it was a whooping 6  degrees this morning, I picked this picture to warm you and what can be more  warming than Prayer?
Good morning,  
What a huge blessing at Kennedy Plaza this morn.
We had the honor of having 3 lovely ladies from “HELP  THE HOMELESS IN RHODE ISLAND“, with us this morning at KP.  Coreen St Jean  and Barbara O’Connor Smith  started their own outreach program 6 weeks ago and they and their group have  been giving tons of Food, Clothing toiletries and personal need items to many many Homeless in Rhode Island. They have been moving in leaps and bounds and have moved mountains to bring tons of daily needed Items  to the homeless.
Coreen St. Jean, Barbara O’Connor Smith  and Andrea Smith, Not only took the time out of their already very busy out  reach program but got up Early this morning and brought tons of clothing,  food, and much-needed items and graced us with their presence and worked right  along side of us the whole time to serve the homeless at KP God bless  them.  We can’t thank you ladies enough you are awesome!!!  This brings  tears to our eyes!!!  There had to be 300 people at KP and God sent much-needed help and clothing ETC.  Praise God! Hats off to you ladies you do an  awesome work and thank you for your loving giving hearts.
Andrea Smith, the sneakers you gave us last week went  to a war Veteran that had asked for them; he thanks you so very much. and the blanket went to a man who sleeps outside. He thanks you so very much  also. God bless you. Thanks for making a special effort to meet their needs.  Raymond the war Veteran was not there this week, we were hoping he was so you  could meet him.
God bless Chad, George and Andy and all the helpers that came with you on the food Truck. Sorry We were so busy  across the street we did not get chance to get the names of those who came with you but thanks To You and all for your labor of Love and God bless you  all.
A special thank you to Barbara Murray Who has donated  Bread and eggs continually. and Many snacks God bless you.
A very heart-felt thank you to: 
  • William Butress & wife
  • Coreen St. Jean
  • Barbara O’Connor Smith
  • Andrea Smith
  • Jane Pace, Sharon Cogean’s Co-worker
  • Alicia Wells Smith,  Sharon Cogean’s Co-worker 
  • Sharon Cogean for making 2 trips to my house to  bring many bags of clothing and toiletries and All her other co-workers 
  • Mac, who donated a case of Bibles 
  • Lidia’s friends 
  • Bob Smith
 Thank you for all you very generous donations, and to  all who continue to bless this ministry, everyone was so thankful. God  bless you all.
Thank you also to Tommy King for your dedication to  the Rhode Island dream center Blog and all the many things you do behind the  scenes, thank you for your labor of love an expertise in all you do. Tommy You  rock!!!!! 
We always give the homeless a chance to pray, but they also have some things that they are thankful for as well:
  • Brian  Several weeks in a row he said if you come  across a leather jacket, I could really use one,Well this week , He really got  blessed. Sharon gave me one from her co- worker and Guess what? It fit him like  it was tailor-made for him. He kept saying this is awesome I hope you did  not buy it for me this is brand new and it had to cost a lot of money. He was  over joyed. He kept coming back to thank us. he just couldn’t believe it. Brian  Always looks out for our safety at KP. and He helps us carry  stuff and  pack stuff up . This Jacket was a heavy winter Wilson leather with a zip  out lining  and he looked Great in it.  When he asked us  where  it came  from we told him God gave it to him. God  heard his pray
  • A young Man   Said to Jan “I just have one  question for you. “Jan said “what?” He said “Why do you do all this? “Jan said”  because of Love.” He said “but  where does that Love come from?” Jan  pointed to Heaven and he yelled out” Praise God! God bless you all.”  
  • Santiago & his wife Got their apartment an answer  to your prayers.They are so happy. They need pots and pans 
  • 2 other people got their apartment also an answer to  your prayers. Can’t read the names I wrote, Some times pens won’t write as  well due to cold weather.
  • A Spanish    man asked me for a Spanish   Bible and we gave him a Gideon Pocket New testament, He was so excited. 
  • Then a  Spanish lady said oh can I have one too ,  Well I had one left and she was so happy.
  • 3 other Spanish ladies said do you have any  more  Spanish Bibles. We would love one, I said We will bring you some  more next week.
  • Mac   we passed out several of the full  Bibles he donated and they were so thank full .
  • One Young man said is that a Bible? How much is it?,   Jan said ” It’s Free and gave him one and he was thrilled  .”
  • Steve  Said can I have one of those  large  Bibles, I love to read the Bible
  • Another man saw this and said” I love to read the  Bible too can I have one?”,and He was Happy as well to get one.   
  • 2 men really needed the sneakers that William  Butress donated they were so happy
  
Others have prayer requests, please pray along with them:
  • Dornel   His needs
  • Brian needs Timberland boots size 10 , He needs Jeans  size 36- 34 length that go over boots
  • Richard Guertin  his needs
  • John  His son Michael, grandchildren and pray for  John as well
  • Raymond   his needs
  • Gene   Self & his health & God knows 
  • Phillip World peace
  • 3 Girls their needs
  • Kearen B    Her family &  self
  • Jimmy needs size 91/2 sneakers 
  • Felix   Health
  • Ines    her needs
  • Maria self & kids
  • Esta     Her needs 
  • Maria homeless, Family, Husband
  • Carlos   God knows
  • George  Homeless
  • Mario  His needs
  • Robert apartment,health, wife And  children
  • Christine  His so Who’s name is Promise just had  open heart surgery and they have to go back in to operate again 
  • Juan  apartment,
  •  Jonathon needs Jeans size  38
  • Freddie  Health
  • Edwin  his needs
  • David a place to live
  • Steve world peace
  • Russell world peace
  • Asmerom   homes for everyone 
  • Lisa  her needs
  • John Paul   get his life  together
  • Paul   Mom passed away, Dad’s health also  self & daughter
  • Jim Sharon
  • Grim   God knows
  • Megan has a lawsuit out for wrongful  arrest
  • Alpro God knows
  • David   A Home
  • Anastasia  His needs
  • Francis  Health Robert continued strength to  make it trough his recovery program & healing of his  liver
  • Barbara needs many miracles in her  family
  • Barbara   Different Barbara For her health  and pain & for her family
  • Brian a miracle deliverance
  • Maria miracle deliverance
  • C Deliverance
  • Lisa & her loved ones
  • Linda Healing depression and God  knows
  • K  God knows
  • Please continue to pray for all those with cancer and  going through treatment for cancer on past lists
  • Hilda will have 6 weeks Chemo &  radiation & No Pain meds.  And that she can swallow
  • Gracie
  • Anthony Geremia Brain  tumor
  • Jeanne Lung Cancer
  • Joseph 
  • Artie’s brother Michael tumor
  • Raymond
  • All in the hospital
  • Anthony ICU Rapid heart & Low Bp. 
  • Valeria Recovering from Knee replacement without pain  meds
  • David Vito Knee replacement &  recovery
  • Liz that she can swallow complete  healing
  • Felecia’s Mom Lorraine had a  stroke
  • All  the homeless
  • Strong holds of addiction to be broken 
Thanks Love and prayers from the Homeless & Early  seekers.
God Bless and have a blessed  week
Ginny

Hope you had a great weekend…if you have time, please take a look at the update below from our Early Seekers Team.

Last week, I shared the blog on the Facebook page of the Help the Homeless in Rhode Island Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/homelessri/), and they were actually able to donate some of the specific requests that the homeless had voiced a need for when they asked us to pray for them on Saturday morning.  It’s so wonderful to be the answer to someone’s prayer, and I am glad we were able to work together to meet the needs of those less fortunate in our state.  Coreen St. Jean, Andrea Smith and the other warm-hearted individuals in the Help the Homeless in RI Facebook group, thanks for taking the time out of your day to make someone else’s day special.  It’s pretty fun, isn’t it!!!

Without further adieu, the Early Seekers update:

We Had another very blessed morning at Kennedy Plaza,  We passed out many bags of clothing, shoes, toiletries, blankets, lunches,  drinks, snacks, coffee, and Bibles, thanks to you and your labor of love in  prayer and giving and all you do in this very blessed ministry.  
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Above is a picture of some of the many people you bless. God bless you all for your faithfulness to those in need. They are always  so thankful for all you do. Many have come to the Lord because of your prayers  and Love for them. Many have turn their life around and are serving God in witness and ministries. To God be the Glory!!!!! 
Because of your generosity, we were able to give out a ton of clothes.  We want to give a special thanks to the following individuals this week:
  • Valerie, Sharon Cogean’s sister : A very grateful thank you to Valerie for 2 very nice  blankets, and some new and lovely clothing and 2 pairs of very nice boots.  all went fast  and the individuals that received them were so very thankful. You really bless the homeless, God bless you.
  • Sharon Cogean’s  Co-workers : A very grateful  Thank to Sharon’s co-workers for all the much needed toiletries, they all went so  fast also and you really blessed the homeless, they were so thankful. God bless  you all.
  • Sharon Cogean: a very grateful thank you for all the  brand new socks and the many nail polishes you blessed the homeless with, they  also went fast and they were all so thankful. God bless you.  also, a special thanks to you, Sharon, for dropping all the above things off to me. You are such a blessing to them. 
  • George:  A very grateful thanks to all the people who  dropped off clothing to George to give to the homeless, all went fast and you  really blessed the homeless and they were so very thankful. God bless you all.  Thanks George for loading them on and off the food truck and for all your hard work…it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. God bless you. 
  • Lidia:  a very grateful thank you to all who gave  clothing toiletries & Bibles to Lidia to pass out , The homeless were  so very thankful, you really blessed the homeless. God bless you. 
  • Tom, Jan’s Husband:  a grateful thanks to Tom for  all the awesome shirts you blessed the homeless with, all went fast, They were  so thankful, God bless you.
  • Rob, Tom’s cousin:  a very grateful thanks to Rob  for all the shirts and clothing you blessed the homeless with, they were so  thankful. God bless you. 

Thank you to all who provide lunches drinks Prayers  Etc. God bless you all.

Some of the homeless and volunteers ask us for prayer when we see them…please take a moment to review and pray for our homeless:

Prayer List:

  • Valerie Sharon’s Sister will have Knee replacement surgery this Monday and she will not be able to have any kind of pain medication During her recovery from surgery, Please keep her in your prayers for a pain  free and a healing miracle  
  • Tracy asks for prayer for Anthony Germia who has Brain cancer,  Please pray for his wife Beverly and sons and family as well
  • Hilda will start radiation and Chemo  for a cancer spot on her lung. She will not be able to have any pain medication for it. She was also told she may not be able to swallow, Please pray for a Pain free and healing miracle. She will have 7 weeks of radiation &  Chemo Feb 10Th to March 28Th
  • Artie’s  Friend son, Mother and family For God to give them strength & Healing miracles In his addiction and the serious issues it has caused. God’s divine intervention in all areas
  • Robert Was in a program and was being harassed the whole time by another person in that program, well praise God because of your prayers He made it through that program so  well, He was chosen to go to a Continued Program that only a select few get to go and will receive very intense treatment without any addiction withdrawal medications and he does have anxiety. Please pray for strength and Peace in the anxiety area and that  he will continue in this program as well. Also Pray for his healing miracle as he is also very Jaundice. This is an answer to your prayers that he has advanced this far, That he not only passed the other program but he has this new one as well this is a miracle, his mother is saying. because his addiction was killing him and his family has suffered such heart ache and hardship. Lord continue this total healing miracle In Jesus name.
  • Barbara   Needs many miracle in her family and God is moving in this area as well, an answer to your prayers also. please continue to keep her and her family in prayer as well.
  • Liz Brenda’s mother Please continue to keep her in prayer for her healing miracle and that she can swallow.       
  • Lidia please continue to keep her in prayer for her heart problem, May the Lord give her a healing miracle.       
  • Scott please continue to keep him in prayer for healing of his blood clots.
  • Celeste Harris friend  Donna is a Kidney transplant recipient Please keep her in pray for a healing miracle as well and pray for her family as well
  • Maria  needs a miracle deliverance       
  • Linda  needs continue healing for her depression & God knows
  • Ronnie   Healing  miracle       
  • Robert healing miracle for his foot & finances       
  • Felicia   Healing miracle for her legs       and her surgery goes well for her throat.
  • Raymond  Healing miracle cancer       
  • Gracie  healing miracle cancer       
  • Ronnie & wife & babies Salvation and their needs, Strength & healing in Jail
  • Barbara needs healing miracle for arthritis & pain & for her, Pray for her family as well
  • Anna   Please keep her in prayer for strength & peace. She was getting married and they broke up, and       though she knows it is for the best, It hurts.
  • Brian   Please keep him in prayer for a miracle healing of his addiction, He was doing well before he fell again and his addiction has really taken a toll on him. 
  • C please continue to keep him in prayer for strength & deliverance
  • George   Needs a home, sleeps on the streets
  • Andy   his needs
  • Ron & Cindy on the trail as they witness that souls will be saved and for God’s Provision and protection.       
  • George   God knows
  • Joe A.   God knows
  • Randy  his needs
  • Joseph  His Dad Pray for Joseph as well       
  • Donna has a praise report Her daughter Has a job  and is doing well in school
  • Sharon   asks for prayer for Jimmy pray for her as well
  • Maria For her & her children’s needs       
  • Cheryl  Needs a home,  wants a relationship with her son & for peace and safety
  • Lisa   her needs
  • Margret   Healing of her heart & for her husband
  • Carlos God knows
  • Robert  God knows
  • Anthony finances and all his needs       
  • Kenneth for him and his family 
  • David  complete healing from his surgery       
  • Lee God knows
  • Rachel  healing from depression       
  • Ines  for her daughter & grandchild
  • Nickie   God knows. She said she sang a song in a church recently I said Oh I would love to hear you sing. She sang a sad song about man who is supposed to love some one and he is not being a father to his child. She could make it On American Idol or America’s got talent. What a beautiful voice!!!!!. She said she would like come to our church. 
  • Steve   God knows
  • Jan   God knows 
  • L&R   
  • David   his needs 
  • Anastasia  his needs       
  • Koryn   God knows
  • Sharon   her needs
  • Donna   God knows
  • S&G   God knows
  • All who bless this ministry
  • All the homeless
  • All ministries
  • The strongholds of addictions to be broken
  • All in pain and all who are sick

Thanks so much for taking time to read this update. 

Thanks so much for taking the time  to pray along with the homeless. 

Thanks so much for all of your donations to the homeless. 

You are appreciated!