Snow and cold couldn’t stop us today – we still marched in the Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade and had a blast!!!
There were about 15 of us marching together today, representing Live it Up and the RI Dream Center. Most of us have been (or still are) homeless at one point in our lives, and I am so proud of how we are taking steps in the right direction to move forward with our lives. It felt great to march down the parade route and have the public acknowledge what we do and cheer for the progress we are making.
Every year, we give out hoodies to the homeless for Christmas…this past Christmas we made sure to hand out green ones specifically so we could represent in the parade….what do you think for this Christmas, orange??? Who’s with me!
This year, the parade was held in honor of Sister Ann Keefe, and I am so proud that we were able a part of it for her sake. I hope that we can make an impact on our city just like Sister Ann did. May she never be forgotten…(read more about Sister Ann here)
Along those lines, one of my friends at work made a huge impact with us during this parade. This friend goes to the parade every year. When she heard the Food Truck was going to be in it last year, she and her Dad put together over 50 St. Patrick’s Day cards with a $5 Dunkin Donut gift card in each one for us to hand out from the Food Truck to the street people we see along the route…it was pretty awesome…this year, though, she went all out…she worked with her co-workers to raise over $600 and put together more that 125 gift certificates for us to hand out. Because we had so many, we got to hand them out to more than just street people this year – we got to hand them out to the elderly as well. It was such an amazing time blessing the financially poor and the elderly with a smile, a hug, and a $5 Dunkin Donut giftcard for no other reason than “just because”. I wish the world had more of this kind of love in it…Friend, thanks for all your hard work, you did an amazing job – I know your Dad is proud!!!!!
Here is a sample of what one of the cards looked like, but check out the pictures on our Facebook Page to see many more of the smiles this day had to offer.
Thanks for checking in! I’m excited for what tomorrow holds!!!!
The RIDC Food Truck is being featured in the Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade again this year.
Check out the post from last year:
Come cheer us on Saturday, March 21 on Smith Street – for more details see the parade’s official website: http://www.providencestpatricksparade.org/
We will be handing out special $5 gift certificates to all the street people we see along the way!
This year, the parade is in honor of Sister Ann, who worked tireless for the city’s poor.
See you at the parade!!!
I just wanted to share a couple of quick stories:
A couple of weeks ago, when we were out feeding the homeless on the Food Truck on a Friday night on Broad Street, a homeless man comes up to me and hands me a $10 bill. I promptly let him know that we are out to bless him, and that there is never a charge for any food/drink/etc the Food Truck provides…just as quick, he let me know that he knew that already, but he saw our faithfulness week after week and year after year and wanted to pitch in – he said it had been a good week for him and he wanted to use some of his windfall to give back to the Food Truck…he said there’s been times when we’ve provided the only meal he’s had on a given day, and he wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks with his wallet…..pretty cool, huh?
The people I work with are very caring and very generous – they are often the quickest to step in anytime I let it be known we are in a pinch…they also love getting involved with the backpack drive. I almost hate telling stories about them, because there are too many to tell and I know I will leave someone’s story out – they are literatlly that good to me…but here’s one for ya – one of the ladies I work with is an extreme couponer – a backpack giveaway plus an extreme couponer = a marriage made in heaven!!! So here’s the scoop, when she got the list of what we need to fill the backpacks this year, she made it her mission to make the biggest impact she could. Armed with a binder-full-of-coupons and store-bucks, she walks up to the cash register with a carriage full of travel size essentials…the woman at the counter, who is one of the assistant managers at the store, let her know that company policy does not allow for couponing/store-bucks on these size items (they were already on sale!!)…but she was very curious why someone might be looking to buy so many anyways…long story short, when my friend tells the woman that she is buying them to fill backpacks to hand out to the homeless this winter, tears begin to well up in the cashier’s eyes. The woman working behind the register lets her know that, so many months ago, she used to be homeless herself!!! So there was no way she was letting my friend walk out of the store with everything in the carriage – and yes it was fine to use the coupons, store policy or not – it is going to a good cause and polices are made to be broken sometimes!!! Imagine that though, my friend innocently walks into the store looking to meet the needs of some homeless people this Winter, but ends up touching the life of someone who made it out of homlesessness…and it opened the door for my friend to put her extreme-couponing skills to VERY good use!!!!
Hello all…hope all is well!!!!
I’m sounding the alarm!! Finances are running extremely low for the Food Truck, and today I focus on fund-raising…
If you don’t know what the Food Truck does, check this video out: Food Truck Video
Wanna see how the Food Truck started: What is the Food Truck?
Real simple – short and sweet – it costs about $1000/month to send the Food Truck every day – and we are looking for whatever help you might be able to offer. We feed 50-100 people every night and 300+ every Saturday morning….the people we serve can not afford us to shut down…
If you can, please donate – we need your help ASAP….please share this blog post with your friends and family so they can help support the cause as well…
The RI Dream Center is a federally and state recognized 501c3 non-profit organization located right here in RI.
Checks can be made payable and sent to the following address: RI Dream Center/330 Park Ave/Cranston, RI 02910
If you would like to donate electronically, PayPal is a great method: PayPal
A one-time donation will help us get through this month….but if you sign up for a recurring donation, it will get us through EVERY month!!!!
Thanks so much for all your support!!!! If you have any questions – let me know! Have a great day!!!
So, we had a great day in Providence today.
The RIDC Food Truck participated in Providence’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade today, and we had a blast!!!
Take a peek at the crew getting ready while we were waiting for our turn to start – I can’t get enough of these smiles:
I am so proud of this crew. Most of members of this crew was, or still are, homeless. Don’t let that fool you, though, as they are some of the most fun people to be around, and I enjoy every second hanging around with them. Seeing this group doing positive things with their lives totally makes my day! I love being able to give them a chance to be a part of something important.
Something else really cool happened – when one of my co-workers found out the Food Truck was going to be in the parade this year, she held a fundraiser at work and hooked us up with over 50 $5 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts and Subway for us to hand out to the homeless that we saw along the parade route. What a blessing it was – we gave all of them away today directly from the truck…pretty cool to be able to treat the homeless to a sub or some nice, fresh coffee – it was awesome being in the parade but actually doing what we do best at the same time…hey, why not take the opportunity to bless some of the homeless along the way!!!! Thanks MG – you are super special and we really appreciate your generosity!!! Check out how nice she made the cards up:
Walking in the parade made all of us feel special. Waving to all the people and having them cheer us on made us feel valued. At the very end of the parade, the announcer on the loudspeaker gave a huge shoutout to the RI Dream Center, yelling into the mic about what a great job we do for the city and how proud he is of us…it really make all of us feel great to be recognized for our hard work. When we were done, the crew was all smiles and all they could talk about was how we could make it even bigger and better next year.
I agree – can’t wait to see where this goes next year!!!!!!!!
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:
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):
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:
- online: http://www.ridreamcenter.com/
- phone: 401-396-2743
- email the Dream Center: email@example.com
- email the Dream Center blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
We received a wonderful email this morning from one of the volunteers at the backpack giveaway…I hope you enjoy!
You will be Blessed to know that every one of the 300 plus back packs were received by the homeless on the State house lawn this morning.
We also passed out about 25 huge bags of warm clothing and lunches, coffee & hot chocolate and YOU made it all possible With your very generous donations of backpacks and all the things we put inside them, Be sides all your prayers, donations for lunches, coffee, clothing, and volunteering your time Etc.
Through your faithful dedication and very generous hearts , 300 plus lives were blessed and they were all so very thankful. God bless YOU ALL . Thank you all once again for all YOU do.
So many people said this is like Christmas !!!!! This is so awesome, we just can’t believe all you do, this Church family is just unbelievable !!!!
As they walk away carrying their house on their back with smiles on their faces in the cold weather so Grateful for the things we take for granted , It leaves us counting our blessings and yet wishing we could do so much more for them.
They are beautiful people God’s children so thankful and grateful for the love we have for them, May we always continue to pray for God’s protection and provision for them as they continue on their journey of survival!!!
There but for the grace of God go I!!!!
Please see the Awesome Praise Reports and Prayer list below!
Vinny & Melissa are on the recovery road, Vinny is addiction free 1 month Melissa is in the hospital . They both want prayer for strength on their recovery road. Vinny looks so healthy.
Sarge who served 3 terms in the Vietnam war has an apartment. Thanks for serving our country Sarge God bless you Veteran.
Joel is on the recovery Road please continue to pray for continued strength through his recovery.
Sharon She is sleeping out on the streets in the freezing cold, Jan gave her a back pack and much needed clothes and a lunch, She said oh my God this is like Christmas! I can’t believe all this stuff and all you do. where is this church I want to come. She just kept saying thank you ,over and over again. Pray for her safety and a home
Raymond looks good his cancer is in remission ,Please continue to pray for his complete healing, He is a war Veteran Who finally has housing and he comes to church a lot. Thanks for serving our Country Raymond . God bless you Veteran
Donna Jan gave her some clothes and asked her did you get a back pack, She said no, Jan said come with me and took her to the truck, Jan said anymore back packs left and they said one, Donna said oh my God I can’t believe this, Jan said yes God wanted you to have this back pack, he saved this last one for you. She was so thankful and amazed at all we do and gave, she wanted to know where the church is and said I want to come to that church. You people are so wonderful to do this.
Maria asked for a plastic bag as her son wanted it to clean up all the trash on the lawn. God bless them.
Vinny shared his lunch with a man who did not get one
So many people were so amazed at all you give and do for others
Love Speaks: So many people come running to us for a hug. They know in their hearts that our love is real. Some people were hard and cold to us for quite awhile years back,as they didn’t trust people, but we just kept telling them Jesus loves you and we love you too and we’d give them a hug. Now it brings tears to our eyes as they run to us to give us a hug. Praise God !
Praise God that He keeps blessing the vision He allows us all to serve together in!!!
Russell Healing of a broken Hip and God knows
Joe Joe Healing & God knows
Barry Healing addiction
Mike to live
David a place to live
Satie A home & Healing
Mike his son Ryan
Sheri Her son, Job
Maria A job & her & her children
CHARLES A JOB
Robert miracle deliverance
Barbara needs many miracles in her family
John Culinary art Grant
Lamaze KIds, suffering
David Job & stay healthy
Mike Bear ( DOG) Get my life back
Felicia will have surgery on her vocal cords
William Dejorge Spirituality, and health
David Di His needs
Barbara God knows
Lasm suffering kids
Dennis His needs
Denise Her needs
Nicole her needs and safe& healthy delivery of her baby
Christina God knows
Andy quit smoking and deliverance of addiction
Cheryl needs a healing miracle of her Liver and pancreas ( cancer)
Cam God guides him on the right road And for his family
Rob his needs
Andy different Andy God knows
Edith needs a healing miracle Cancer Lump on her breast and lung
Joel continued strength on the recovery road
Gracie Complete healing cancer
C miracle deliverance
Car miracle healing deliverance
Viola Her boy friend David tanner needs deliverance from addiction & healing
Randy God knows
June her health Cancer miracle healing
George God knows
Paula Her son strength, needs size small men’s clothing
Maude Her children in Africa
Felicia her father-in-law almost died needs healing
Judy fractured bone will have surgery this Tuesday
Mark his wife Roseabella self deliverance
Paul Healing of Cheryl’s legs, His sister-in-law
Ron For Al who is suicidal
Scott for his son to be born healthy
Tony has a life treating disease , Pray for his miracle, Her enjoys helping everyone, he feels blessed to do it.
Kelly for her triplet children one in college,ones a marine and one struggles
Barbara Carl died and they brought him back to life is in the hospital needs healing
Heather needs healing bronchitis Pray for her children also
Eric Family and kids
Barbara pray for her children and her mother who is raising them
Jennifer for her baby to be born healthy
Ben his daughter, good health
Jose his son and better health
Elwood get well
Lynn she has been trying to get pregnant, Her husband has low sperm count
William his Dad to get well and more direction to the Lord
Tina all who are still suffering
Mellisa Detor her needs
Carl Dunn is in ICU
A Man asked for prayer for Scott to show up
Vinny a better life and strength on his recovery road for him and his wife
All the Homeless
LIz Brenda’s mother please continue to pray for her complete healing & brenda as well
Hilda & Gary God Knows
K God knows
Ron & Cindy on the trail spreading the word that Jesus saves, please continue to pray for God’s protection & provision and for souls to be saved
Barbara Her & her family
Scott needs a complete healing of blood clots in his leg
Lidia Healing Heart problem and pray for her family as well Ronnie in Jail and hia wife and 3 babies
Maria needs a miracle deliverance
David his needs S&G God knows
Ronnie complete healing cancer
R&L God knows
Robert needs healing of his foot, depression & finances
J&T God knows
Joseph Guilmette needs a miracle healing cancer
Lisa Her mom needs healing cancer and her step father also needs healing cancer please pray for their miracle and for Lisa as well
Raymond God knows
William salvation for him and family
Billy needs healing miracle suicidal
Linda Healing of her depression and her mind
Church family & Their’s
Pastors and Their family
Thank you Love & prayers from the Homeless & the early Seekers
God bless and have a great week