“I could do much more than that.”

In Stories, Updates on July 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

credit: Tonic.com

Feel-good news site Tonic posted a story last week about an 11-year-old in South Carolina who grew a 40 lb. cabbage a few years ago. Donated to a local soup kitchen, the cabbage helped feed 275 people. The girl, Katie Stagliano, now operates six gardens, producing several thousand pounds of tomatoes, lettuce and other veggies for donation to nearby kitchens.

As the article tells, when Katie heard how many people that first cabbage fed, she responded, “I could do much more than that.”

And she did.

Oftentimes in a society plagued with complex problems, especially ones like homelessness, youthful idealism is slandered as youthful naivety, and brilliant thoughts like Katie’s aren’t allowed to, well, grow into realities. Katie’s story is a living example that it sometimes takes fresh eyes to bravely and creatively address even the harshest realities in our communities, like hunger.

From the the story:

“I thought, ‘Wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?'” says Katie, now entering sixth grade. “I could do much more than that.”

Katie’s desire to help as well as create sprouted early. “She’s always been very inquisitive and wants to go above and beyond,” says her mom, Stacy, 41. “It’s like, ‘What about this and why aren’t we doing this?”

Read the full story here.

“Homeful”

In Archives, Stories on July 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

[Editor’s note: This essay originally ran in Change of Heart‘s Spring 2008 issue]

I never considered myself homeless until I got to Lawrence, Kansas.

I considered myself a hitchhiker. I never had to stay at a shelter. I may not have had a home, but I had somewhere to stay, either with friends or at a motel. I guess I thought of myself as “homeful.” I was headed up to live with my little sister when I ended up here in Lawrence the night before Christmas Eve. I was upset and alone. I couldn’t find anyone to help me get a motel room. Finally I found myself at the LCS Drop-In, after three hours of walking around and not knowing where to go or what to do.

Mary was working that night. She was so nice and understanding as she helped me get into the shelter for the night. She even gave me dry socks, which at the time were better than gold, because my feet were soaked and frozen. I had planned on leaving a day or two after Christmas. I however met so many people here who are willing to help me without judging me. I think I have found a town I may be able to call home, where I can get help and be myself to get it.

I want to thank all the people at LCS, Salvation Army, LINK, Jubilee and all the volunteers from everywhere who make being homeless in Lawrence a safer and healthier experience than I have seen anywhere else.

by Kelli Garner

Costly camping for Lawrence’s homeless

In Stories, Updates on July 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm

During yesterday’s Coalition for Homeless Concerns meeting, Lawrence Community Shelter guest Richard Price expressed concern about the issuing of camping citations by Lawrence police. Citations are issued to houseless individuals who, turned away from a Shelter at chronic over-capacity, resort to sleeping on public property.

“The police know they don’t have nowhere to go, but they keep giving them these camping tickets,” said Price.

Coalition co-chair Brad Cook sees the camping citations as a misuse of taxpayer cash.

“It’s really an institutional problem,” he said. Cook explained that homeless individuals, when unable to pay their citation, are jailed, costing the city even more money on the problem of homelessness.

Coalition members intend to seek out additional overflow shelter from nearby churches that offered their space during the spring and winter months.

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