As the sun was setting over Knoxville, she prepared for the night. Her home is the sidewalk. But, it's not just her... she is 5.5 months pregnant. In just a few months her child will be born.Read More
He sat quietly holding a sign and if anyone handed him anything, he would politely thank them. As we talked it was obvious that he was well spoken as he told me about two young ladies who stopped and gave him blankets to use for a warm night’s sleep.
“I want to get to Florida,” he told me with a stutter. “I got off the bus in Murfreesboro, but I need to get to Interstate 75,” he explained.
He then described how he has worked all of his life at day labor companies suggesting, “Because I like to travel.” A social security check is deposited into his account each month, but he does not have an ATM card or checks. “I will set all of that up when I get to Florida,” talking about how he wants to find somewhere to live where he will be warmer.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” - Matsuo Basho, Japanese Poet (1644-1694)
“Do not avert your eyes.
It is important
that you see this.
It is important that you feel
this.” ― Kamand Kojouri, writer
A photo of faith, humanity and mankind... living on the streets.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
When you are homeless, it is easy to get knocked down. Most recently, he said that his hours were cut at the bar where he works in Nashville.
"Tough times never last, but tough people do." - Robert H. Schuller
He has been on the streets for about 8 years. He said that his mother told him when he turned 18 he is out of here and on his own, which he has been.
Outgoing, kind and spirited are the words I would use to describe his personality. He was excited to be alive, despite his circumstances.
Jobs come and go and don’t mean much to many people on the street. It is a way to make enough money to get to the next chapter, not something that defines us. However, his most recent job earned him enough money to buy warm weather gear from Bass Pro Shops, which he is wearing in this photo. That is a good thing because recently, he has been without a sleeping bag or tent.
His home was a metal bench in downtown Nashville. He had a backpack of clothing and personal possessions. But, that changed on Thanksgiving Day.
Now, he has a tent and a sleeping bag that will greet the temperatures this winter without an issue. It also means he will be able to visit the downtown library during the day because he can leave his backpack in his tent. What some may not realize, the downtown library now limits what size of bag you can bring in and his backpack broke that rule as he had a hiking backpack.
“There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.” - William Barclay, Scottish Author, (1907-1978)
I told her that I may have one tent left, even though two people were in need of a tent and she was one of them.
When we got to my car... I found that I had two tents left and three blankets - just enough to fill the need. You should have seen her smile when she got to walk back to the others eating a Thanksgiving meal and give that second tent to the other person who needed it along with the blankets.
"There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help." - Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Representative for Illinois
He said to me on Thanksgiving Day... "I'm not homeless, I'm just home, less."
His view is the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.
"This is just a stop, on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know this is my
-Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood
From Louisville, Kentucky she headed to Nashville, Tennessee with her new boyfriend. She is 37 years old and her significant other told me, “She was tired of her daddy taking all but $100 of her disability check.”
"You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” — Bob Marley (via BerkLee’s mom, the parent of a down syndrome child – quote posted on “Mighty Proud Media”)
Thanksgiving Day in Nashville: After serving in the National Guard he was discharged honorably. He then decided to hit the road and so the journey from California to Nashville, Tennessee was met head on.
He is 23 and homeless. He was adopted at a young age after being removed from his birth mother… it was a story that he was not ready to share.
While making multiple trips to my car to retrieve more sleeping bags and tents for homeless at “Gobble Gobble Give,” he said, “Today, I don’t feel homeless and it feels really good helping.”
The young man helped me until all the tents and sleeping bags were humbly accepted by those living on the street. Some told us, "I don't need one, but he does [pointing at another homeless person at the event]."
After helping, he got a sleeping bag and tent for himself. However, he first made sure that those who needed one had one.
The 23 year old again stated, "Today was a good day - best morning ever, I did not feel homeless."
At Gobble Gobble Give 2017, David Montanbeau told me, “3,348 Meals were served, 1000+ Articles of Clothing given away, 3000+ Hygiene Kits were given away, 74 Haircuts, 28 Showers and 5 Complete Makeovers.” Not to mention, 31 left with a new sleeping bag, 8 left with a new tent and 3 left with new blankets.
“I go to the Methadone clinic every morning [pointing down the street],” he stated. “But, I’m clean now – I’ll probably have to be on it forever though.”
He then told me about the dealers down the street near the clinic selling drugs outside of McDonald's. As I walked through the alleged drug sellers to reach my next destination, it was more than obvious what they were doing. They would sit in groups of two or three and after an order was placed, another man would walk around the corner with the goods in pocket.
Methadone: Treats moderate to severe pain. Also used together with medical supervision and counseling for treatment of narcotic drug addiction. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.
She was sitting by herself at 6 in the evening in the shadows of Chicago near the lake. She had a hospital bracelet on her right wrist and a walker sitting behind her.
I asked, “When was the last time you ate?” She looked up and said, “Yesterday morning.”
Without skipping a beat I quickly got her some hot beef stew, a yogurt, sandwich and more.
Needless to say she never had to say the words thank you, I saw it in her face.
“Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.” - Maya Angelou
This is a photo of a man covered in a comforter that someone gave him on the streets of Nashville, TN. In the background, you can see the beautiful Tennessee Capital building.
A friend and I delivered this man a warm bowl of freshly made grits that one of the cooks gave us at Puckett's Grocery. We told the cook that the man needed some warm soup, but they did not have any on hand. He smiled and told us he had something better than soup. I would agree, their grits are amazing. This homeless man also agreed.
Life is beautiful when you take the time to help others. Regardless of how small the task may be.
This photo was taken at night on the steps of a church located in Nashville, Tennessee.
When I saw this man, I thought of an old song by Louis Armstrong:
"Ah, the pale moon's shining the fields below
Dark is crooning songs soft and low
You needn't tell me, boy, because I know
It's sleepy time down south"