abeerforbreakfastcom originally was a blog that randomly commented on Atlanta happenings and events, political commentary and random thoughts. It was an outlet for a writer stuck in Corporate America that for business political reasons needed to remain anonymous. I had fun with it covering everything from festivals to how to make sloppy joe’s. I credit Hollis Gillespie, local self proclaimed trailer slut, novelist and goddess of writing seminars for helping me get off my back-side and write.
In June 2010 everything changed. I landed a corporate gig in Downtown Atlanta near the Westin. I’m conveniently located near the Atlanta Union Mission, Safe House, Woodruff Park and Open Door Community. The street behind my office is a pedestrian corridor for an endless parade of homeless people moving from one shelter, and one meal, to another. Some make it to the soup kitchens, some don’t. There’s a trashcan on Andrew Young International that is directly below my 2nd floor office. I watch those living on the margins eat out of that garbage can every single day. In November or 2010, I finally decided to do something about it.
It started with the company Thanksgiving lunch. It was a pot-luck affair and there was more than enough food. There were about 50 people or so, and the amount of food was overwhelming. Everyone ate and the clean-up began. The food was heading for the trash can. That’s when the button got pushed. I could not let that food go to waste. I loaded up all of the food and put it in coolers in the back of my truck and delivered it — unannounced– to a doorway in the back of a church on Ponce de Leon. I had seen homeless people come in and out of that doors for a few weeks. I was completely out of my element.
I was greeted warmly and the food was appreciated. I decided to organize a clothing drive around Christmas. My goal was to take my 8 employees and collect 10 items each. I figured that if we could collect 80 items, then we would have an impact. That’s when things really started to get traction. We ended up collecting over 800 items! We collected everything from winter coats and blankets to toothpaste and razors. I literally couldn’t fit all of the donations into the back of my full size pick-up. We gathered enough items to support Church on the Street, Open Door Community and Clifton Sanctuary Ministries.
I thought that was the end of my giving. Nope. I ended up befriending Gary Tucker, Director of Retreat From the Streets, a program sponsored by Church on the Street. I found that my giving didn’t not have an end and wasn’t seasonal. I wanted to find a way to help. My blog had been sitting mostly dormant for a couple of months and I decided to use it as a voice for those who are experiencing homelessness. I could speak to the issue in a way that organizations that have the word “church” or “mission” in their name could not. I’m not afraid to drop the “F” bomb if it’s appropriate.
So here I am. My objective is simple. I want to tell the stories that I hear on the street about the people that really live there–not some stupid fantasy world that some writer penned because he happened to drive past a homeless person and thought he could fill in the blanks. I want to encourage understanding that our homeless brothers and sisters are somebody’s son and daughter. We rode bikes with them when we were kids. Their lives somehow, took a wrong turn and they deserve our compassion. Human beings are domesticated animals and have evolved to live indoors.
My mission is to create compassionate awareness, compel giving and offer an open hand to those that are genuinely suffering and trying to get off the street. Please let me know if you’d like to help. I can point you in the right direction.
“Comforting the distressed…Distressing the comfortable.”
You can contact me at: email@example.com