Can a day be any better?!

I have been very tired and took a lazy, sleepy morning, finally leaving home at lunchtime. I immediately recognized the sure sign that despite my late start, it was a great day! As soon as I got outside I saw a @Ramon_DeLeon Domino’s delivery being made to a home across the street. (Obviously a sign from God, as the sun shone down on the pizza delivery besides.) I smiled. BIG. I wanted to post a picture to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…(you know the drill), but sadly, quite sadly, my phone has been uncharged because the USB charger cord broke. Ramon has been so awesome to help offer food to the homeless and those who live in the shelter at @DebsPlaceChi with me, I can’t help but think of him and smile when I see a pizza delivery. So before heading to the bus stop, I walked to @OfficeDepot by my home in Lakeview, Chicago. I went straight back to look at the phone chargers and price them out. And maybe do some dreaming. I checked out the clearance sale section too. I’m a smart woman and refuse to leave a store (especially a “toy store” like Office Depot) without checking all sales. Naturally, I wrote a mental wish list of everything I’d love to have. Anyway, I decided to test my luck. I spoke to the Office Depot store manager. I wish I paid better attention to his nametag! I explained my situation, being unemployed, living at a nearby shelter, and in desperate need of a new charger cord for my phone. I offered to trade gift cards for multiple stores or make any arrangement possible to get one. He gave me a new one, no cost or anything. He said that he had an extra. I damn near jumped and gave the man a hug and a kiss on the cheek! LOL! I sincerely cannot thank this manager enough! Honestly, the same goes for @Ramon_DeLeon. I have been moody sometimes and not blogging as I was, I’ve been slower to mention how greatly I — how greatly WE at Deborah’s Place / Marah’s — appreciate his kindness in delivering pizzas to us. So surely, seeing the Domino’s delivery near my home today was a sign that the day could only be better? That the world is filled with the kindness of others. We just have to ask. I admit, that is something that I am still working on. I have always tried to be very independent and hate to ask for help. While homeless, I began to learn new social skills. One of which, includes asking for help. I am still learning this one. It is okay to ask help. I don’t like to get something for nothing. I feel the gratitude and pay from my heart, if nothing else. I appreciate what my followers and others have done to help myself and others. Many a time, someone’s generosity has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, @Ramon_DeLeon, the manager at @OfficeDepot in Lakeview, Chicago, @mafiahairdreser, @Superdawg, and so many others for all your kindness and help. ❤ My phone service is still temporarily suspended because I couldn't pay the monthly bill, but having the new charging cord is a fresh start to getting it back on! I can now charge the phone, use my contacts and calendar to schedule appointments, and use email and make free phone calls on wifi. I am happy!!!!!!!

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Watch “Everybody Should be Treated the Same” on YouTube

What would you do?

I’ve had a lot of questions in life. One of the most troublesome was when I became homeless. I had no idea what to expect or what to do. In time, I learned more and found help, again and again. Of course, learning is never ending. Though I am homeless no more, I am still learning about homelessness. I see people on the street, I may talk to, and may offer to try and help them how I can. What if one of the homeless people I met was you?

On April 7, 2011, I was that homeless person. I interviewed with a case manager with Deborah’s Place and was accepted in to their permanant housing program.

Here I receive support services with my housing, and with no time limits. Permanent housing is just that–I can stay forever or for as long as I like.

For my birthday on December 18th, I’m asking my friends and family for a special gift: help me raise $250 for Deborah’s Place–but in under one day that goal was met! I have faith that we can raise more yet! It is still one week to my birthday. Due to reaching my initial goal so quickly, I believe the challenge should raised. Let’s make the NEW GOAL $500.00!

Without this Deborah’s Place, I would be homeless and living on the streets. They help myself and others giving us housing and free services while we work to acheive self-sufficiency. With no income, my rent is free. We residents at Deborah’s Place love it here. We know the reality: if not for this awesome organization, we would be homeless living on the streets again.

Please consider giving to my Birthday Wish, and together we can help end homelessness. If you can’t give now, I’d really appreciate if you’d share this link http://wishes.causes.com/wishes/494455 with your friends, family, and co-workers.

Thanks so much,

AnnMarie Walsh, @padschicago

Watch “Meet my new homeless friend Paul Jenkins” on YouTube

Mom of 12 year old in Chicago needs help

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Meet Lisha. She is homeless in Chicago with a daughter who is 12 years old. She is in desperate need of help with clothes, food, hygiene, obtaining employment, housing, to name a few. Her daughter also needs school supplies. She will accept any offer off employment. I talked to her about possibly being a vendor of Street Wise magazine to help a little with expenses and with her approval showed her to the Street Wise offices where she met office staff. I happy to say that she will attend an orientation soon. She has been sober from drugs for six months and obtains regular treatment. If you can help this mother and child in ANY form possible, please contact me! She has a mailing address available for her to use, as well as an email address. I will be happy to give this information to anyone who can help! Thank you so much!

UPDATE 12pm Aug 8, 2012:

Holy #RamonWOW! @Ramon_DeLeon of Domino’s in Chicago has offered pizza for this homeless family! Awesome and thank you, Ramon! Who else will step up to help?!

UPDATE 1:15pm Aug 9, 2012:

I have an offer of school supplies and bus fare by @trohner1 and @Ramon_DeLeon! She doesn’t know yet–I am at the @StreetWise_Chi office while Lisha attends Vendor Orientation. 

StreetWise Vendor Orientation

 

UPDATE 2:20pm Aug 9, 2012:

Awesome! @mafiahairdreser willl give a back-to-school haircut!!

 

Backpack Envy

I still feel like a homeless person. I have no money and no income with an SSDI case pending. Once a person is forced to live on the streets and in shelters, you never forget that life. There is compassion and a comradery for others experiencing homelessness. And you never forget. Many times, when I could, I have given food and water, and pulled a homeless person in from the rain for a cup of coffee–this including while I was homeless myself.

I have been #NoLongerHomeless since April 7, 2011. I am now living at Marah’s, a permanent housing program of Deborah’s Place. This organization gives shelter and housing to homeless women. In my location there are thirty of us residing. Without this having been offered to me, I would be on the street not knowing where my life was headed. And I still don’t forget. My mind is now wired to think about homelessness issues. To this day not only do I offer to help and feed the homeless if I can, but I still think like a homeless person. I truly suffer “backpack envy” when I see a really awesome backpack that would have been a great for me when I was homeless. Believe me, I was known around town for my backpacks! I would pack whatever I could inside. My pack was actually weighed a few times. Its heaviest known weight was about 72 pounds. I walked everywhere from town to town carrying that thing on my back. Often times I would have an extra bag for any foods I could get. Sometimes I carried yet another bag–a sleeping bag or blankets. Without trying in my walk tonight I found several places where I might set up camp at night if I was still homeless. Some places were occupied. Its an automatic thought to think like i am still homeless–like backpack envy–because, I will never forget. My brain is too hard wired now on the subject of homelessness. I wish I could do more to help.
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Please help: Gift cards for the #homeless are needed!

Please help me and Paul Saini by donating a $5 gift card to compensate homeless individuals for a photo shoot that will benefit Journeys From Pads To Hope, a homeless services agency. Gift cards can be mailed to me at:

AnnMarie Walsh / Pads Chicago
1456 West Oakdale
Chicago, IL 60657.

Thank you so much for your faith in me! Paul and I also greatly appreciate your support to raise awareness of homelessness and so we can raise funds to benefit Journeys from PADS to Hope.

Video: View my room at my new home

Its not a well-made video and was very spontaneous, but you get the picture. (pun intended) 😉

Houswarming Gifts

***ATTENTION: PLEASE SEE THE UPDATED LIST HERE, REVISED 4/24/2011***

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Several of you are asking me what I need, saying that you wish to send me a housewarming gift to help for my new place. Here are some ideas, and the growing list may be added to:

  • gift cards for Dollar Tree, Target, WalMart, Kmart, Walgreens, Jewel-Osco, Dominicks, etc.
  • coffee maker, individual or multi-cup.
  • Brita water filter & pitcher/bottle.
  • hangars
  • small table (plastic outdoor is fine) or end table or small chest, or shelves
  • chair, even a bean bag chair is ok
  • TV antennae
  • wood clothes drying rack
  • large pillow, any type of feather or fiberfill
  • mouse pad
  • plants or indoor gardening supplies and seeds
  • Swiffer mop refills
  • Cleaning supplies (glass cleaner, dusting)
  • laundry supplies (fabric softener, Downy ball, detergent, laundry basket, etc)
  • pictures to hang
  • twin size bedding
  • plastic cover for twin size mattress and pillow
  • *reduced-fare CTA passes
  • *Virgin Mobile top-up refill cards
  • handheld mini vaccuum
  • clothes basket
  • *Green Dot Money-Pak refills to add to my prepaid credit card
  • Small radio or stereo
*Always welcome and needed!

Meet Pastor Randy of Cross & Crown MOH