Preparing for Winter: Creating a Comprehensive Emergency Shelter Plan for our Unsheltered Homeless Neighbors

There has been a lot of talk over the last 2-3 years about a legitimate plan to get people off the streets when inclement weather hits Arkansas.  There’s been talk amongst LR city officials, churches, and other homeless service agencies and organizations.  Yet winter is close again and nothing has been done.  So a few of us are acting.  An effort to create an actual plan is being made by The Van in partnership with Canvas Community Church, The 10/20 Project, and DRB Legacy Outreach, Inc. – SOAR Network.

This is a huge undertaking and we’re going to need a lot of help to pull it off.  Here are some ways that we are looking for people to help:

  • SITES – Locations to provide temporary shelter when inclement winter weather hits central Arkansas.  Ideally, we need a place in SWLR and a place in downtown that could commit to opening their doors.  We are strongly encouraging churches to consider partnering in this way.  We’re partnering with all kinds of churches so don’t be afraid to join the party!  First Pres Argenta has committed to taking in families and Levy Church of Christ has committed to help special needs during times of non-inclement weather. We are working to have everything worked out so that all you would need to do is open the doors.  We’d cover the rest, all the way to cleanup when the weather clears.  If interested, contact us by clicking here. 
  • STAFFING – Volunteers to work shifts at site locations, cook meals, provide security, and process orders of needs in our warehouse.  If you’d like to get on an email list that we will use to contact volunteers when the time comes and as we prepare, shoot us an email with your info and how you’d like to help at warmingshelter@welovelittlerock.org
  • FOOD/MEALS – We need to start stockpiling food now.  #10 cans of veggies, noodles, rice, dry beans, frozen meats.  Food trucks that would be willing to brave the elements and come help us with some meals would be amazing.  Restaurants that would like to pitch in would also be huge.  Everything given will be tax deductible.  You can drop off donations at our warehouse (8016 Faulkner Lake Rd, NLR 72117) or contact us by clicking here.  
  • DRIVES – One really huge way that ANYONE can help is to organize a drive.  We are going to be needing tons of in-donations such as cots, blankets, pillows, pillow cases, socks, gloves, underwear, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, coats, chap stick, etc.  Hit up your family/friends/coworkers/church/club/or anyone else.  Throw a party!  Organize a fundraiser.  Then just give us a shout and we’ll work out getting the stuff to the warehouse.  Easiest way anyone can help.
  • FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS –  If you’d like to help monetarily to cover fuel or any other specific needs that arise through this process, you can do that by clicking here.  Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you to everyone for always supporting this work.  This community is so amazing and really knows how to show people love.  

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10 20soar

 

How You Can Help The Van!

VanLogoWe’ve had a lot of interest lately from folks who want to help. We wanted to share one of the biggest, most important ways that folks could help us out right now…

Not only did we just put our first family in the women’s house, but we are also working with several other local organizations/churches to create a comprehensive emergency warming shelter plan for central Arkansas (more info coming on this soon). These two things combined will greatly increase our need for “stuff” in the coming months. The biggest way you can help us right now is to start a drive. Get your group, church, club, family, or business to start a drive. Throw a party and ask your guests to bring items. Whatever you can think of. This effort has always been very grassroots and this is one way we’ve always been able to get a lot of the community involved. We have a big warehouse and we’re going to be working hard to get it filled up and ready with things like:

toilet paper
paper towels
cleaning supplies (bleach, pine sol, etc.)
hand soap
laundry soap
dish soap
canned food items (pop top preferred)
socks, regular and wool (new preferred)
underwear (must be new)
gloves
chap stick
razors
shaving cream
blankets
sleeping bags
tents
dry beans
rice
noodles/pasta

 

Thank you so much to everyone who supports this work.  YOU make it all possible.  If you decide to get a drive organized, let us know by using the contact section here on the website so that we can make arrangements to get the stuff to the warehouse once your drive ends. If you’d simply like to donate on your own, feel free to drop things off at our warehouse, at 8016 Faulkner Lake Rd, North Little Rock, AR 72117

If you’d like to contribute monetarily, you can do that by clicking here.

Home

We all have different ideas of what a home looks like.  When I think of a home, I think of a wood stove similar to the one showed above, except ours was brown and rusted out.  It was the center of our home when our electricity would go out as a kid.  When I think of the house I grew up in, my fondest memories were of our brown wood stove.  The house I grew up in has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, two dining rooms, a large den and a big kitchen.    At the peaks of my growing up, sometimes there were as many as 15 folks living in this house.  We all lived together at different times because some of us were going through hard times and other sundries.  It is the house my grandfather built.  And when one of his kids, or friends, needed somewhere to sleep, we made room.  We made room because we loved one another.

 

Due to my rich, privileged childhood, I always knew I had family that loved me.  I always had a home.

 

I have a friend that I’m going to call Job.  Job has lost everything.  His kids have disowned him.  His wife has passed.  He can barely walk.  Job has told me every week for the past 3 months that on the 27th of this month he will turn 80.  So, I’m not quite sure how old Job is.  Three “27th of this month”‘s have passed since he first told me that he will turn 80 on the 27th.  Sometimes Job is very conscious and aware of his surroundings.  Today was one of those days.  Two weeks ago, when I saw him last, he was sure that his son, who hasn’t spoken to him in 5 years was coming to pick him up.  Today he spoke of a god that he loved that was mean and spiteful that was punishing Job for all of his sins.  Today he spoke of a god that didn’t care whether he lived or died.  I don’t know who this god is that Job is speaking of, but I know better.  But Job is currently very mad at this god and it breaks my heart.  So when this god (that Job has created in his mind to replace the ever loving, ‘I shall never leave nor forsake you’ God that I know) has forsaken Job, I am making it my duty to show Job that God has NOT forsaken him and that God loves him.  How do I do this?  I’m going to check on him every few days.  I am going to bring him a cup of coffee and a doughnut when I can.  I’m going to make sure he stays warm and survives this winter.

 

Below is a picture of where Job currently lives.  His home consists of a couch, where he sleeps, a recliner and a tarp hanging on some limbs to keep the rain off of him.  This is a picture of why VanLanta needs your support.  I need to keep what I’m doing so that Job knows he is loved.  If the name of this organization is “The One, Inc.”, Job is The One.  The 99 are fine in the field where they are supposed to be, but Job is currently lost.  He needs to know people care enough about him to go looking for him.   Job is The One.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t yet, please consider becoming a monthly partner with The One, Inc.  The world is full of Job’s.

Monthly Update

Today was one of the hardest days I’ve had doing this work…

 

Today the story we hope we never hear, I heard….

 

Today, the stories I’ve heard friends like Aaron Reddin (The Van) and Hugh Hollowell (http://lovewins.info) tell happened around me…

 

A woman who has made the hard decision to be homeless (because the alternative is to share a home with an abusive male) named Luann (name has been changed, obviously) introduced herself to me.  We talked for about a half hour.  We cried.  We hugged.  And she knows, if she needs anything, she can give me a call.

 

This is the kind of work I do.  I don’t just give folks clothes, soap and socks.  I do my best to give folks a friend.  I do my best to give folks an ear that they wouldn’t get at other places.  I do my best to give folks a judgment free zone so they can tell their story without worrying whether or not I’m going to think less of them or stop helping them.

 

However, I do give folks clothes, soap and socks. I make sure my friends are as comfortable as living in the woods allows.  And I need your help.

 

I need your old jackets that you’re going to give to some other 501(c)3.  We can give you the same type of tax receipt you would get from them.  I need gently used or new socks.  I need blankets, sleeping bags, tents and tooth brushes so that my friends aren’t sleeping on the ground and so that they might be able to retain a bit of self-respect.

 

I need to keep doing what I’m doing so folks who “choose” to sleep outside, because the only house they have is shared with an abusive partner can know they’re not alone.

 

I need your help.  You can donate right on this website or you can comment or send me an email at terry@theoneinc.org to talk about donating material items, an address to mail a check, or if you want me to come pick up something you want to donate.

 

The One Inc. needs your help.  Luann needs your help.  Jerome, Wanda, Minny, Mickey, Brandon and Justin need your help too.  These are folks that I have a relationship with that I help, week in and week out and I can’t do it without your help.

 

 

Terry R. Smith
Vanbassador
Atlanta, GA

KATV: The Field to Feed Arkansas’ Needy

Local News Network KATV recently did a story on our latest project, The Field.

You can read the story below or on the KATV Website…

(KATV) A Little Rock man has made it his goal to help the homeless, but he also wants them to learn basic skills to help themselves. For about a decade, Aaron Reddin has been on a mission to help those who need help getting their lives together, something he knows about all to well.

Behind warehouses on Faulkner Lake Road in North Little Rock, two acre of land has been turned into “the field”. The idea is simple, plant it, water it, watch it grow and then give it away to anyone in need.

Aaron Reddin says, “We realized we had a lot of homeless friends eating junk, junk being served to them with good intentions but they just didn’t have access to any good food. We always knew we wanted to do a garden, we just didn’t know how.”

Reddin has partnered with The People Tree Inc, non-profit community cultivators. “They know what needs to go where, what needs to be planted, what should be beside what, what needs this much sun. I don’t know any of that.”

They’re growing squash, corn, tomatoes, okra, watermelon, peppers, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and pumpkins.

Volunteer, Lisa Harrison calls The Field, a miracle. “To know that God gave us the ground and that we can just put a little work into it and give something back to the people in need. It’s just a good feeling, a really good feeling.”

Through research, they estimate when all two acres of The Field produces fruits and vegetables, they can grow about six-millions of pound of food a year. Reddin adds, “It is simple. I’ve been pounding my head thinking why didn’t we do this sooner. Why do we have kids all over the world dying of starvation everyday and we’re complaining about hunger in the world… food comes out of the ground.”

Chickens will soon arrive and provide eggs. Their next goal is to educate kids and homeless on getting a green thumb and profit off selling produce at farmers markets. “All of Central Arkansas, they’re great. We have folks out here we know, we have folks out here we’ve never met. Folks come out and support it and… it’s going to make me cry if I talk about it so I’m just grateful to our community, we are a great community.”

Big Thanks to Hot Dog Mike!!!

As many of you in Central Arkansas might have already seen, our good friend and mega-supporter, Hot Dog Mike, recently created the world’s most expensive hot dog and he sold it to help us out here at The One, Inc. In case you missed it, here’s a great writeup on it from the Arkansas Times:

Hot Dog Mike Juiliano stood proudly at his cart on Friday, May 11 as he prepared to make the World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. There was a roll-away table in front of the cart, lined with a white table cloth, which was topped with five silver platters and a vase of roses. It was clear that a world record was about to be broken.

Juiliano said he had the idea about a month ago to sell an expensive hot dog to raise money for homeless support nonprofit The One, Inc., also known as “The Van.” He tweeted his idea about a month ago, and his followers instantly started bidding against each other on “theONEdog.” In an hour and a half, the price was up to $1,500. Juiliano said that he made it $1,501 because we are in Little Rock, and he is “clever like that.” Previously, Canada held the record for the most expensive hot dog, but he thought it was time to bring the title back to America, intending no offense to Canada.

Juiliano had to buy the supplies for the hot dogs. He knew some local bakeries used gold flakes in fancy wedding cakes, so he tried some and decided that would be a perfect topping for The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. The dog – made with a quarter-pound of premium beef – was also topped with lobster tail and saffron aioli.

Sharon Bennett Goodson, one of “The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog” buyers, chose to buy the hot dog because the money went to a good cause. She said The Van helps people meet their real needs. “I’m a little nervous,” she said, “I’m not a big lobster fan.”

By noon, fans and media crews had crowded around Juiliano’s cart. Old bumper stickers such as “New Price,” and “How Much Is That Hot Dog In The Window,” made for a perfect backdrop as he readied the eagerly-awaited hot dogs.

Reaching into a Ziploc bag full of lobster meat, Juiliano said, “I’m not going to be stingy.” He then invited the cameras to the table with him and said “Ladies and gentlemen, a very expensive hot dog.” He presented the first hot dog to Goodson, noting that he would give her five complimentary napkins to go with her expensive charitable meal.
“It is very good,” Goodson said, “Is this gonna be a regular menu item?”

Bystanders questioned whether the condiment covering her face was mustard or gold. At the same time, Juiliano assured everyone that the gold was “American gold.”

Four other ONEdogs were bought by anonymous donors and given to passersby, Mike’s colleagues and the owner of The Van, Aaron Reddin.

“It was good,” Reddin said. “I was skeptical. I’m not gonna lie.” Reddin said he was going to start saving up his money for another, but noted that it would probably be about $2,000 next time.

After the hot dogs were delivered, Juiliano stood next to The Van and wrote the $6,000 check. “I thank Little Rock because you guys did it. I am just the hot dog guy and he is just the van guy,” he said, before going back to his cart and asking viewers if anyone was hungry for a hot dog.

The remaining hot dogs were sold for the usual $3-$5, as the remnants of the mustard-gold sat unused at the back of “Little Rock’s Coolest Hot Dog Cart.”

In case you are wondering what goes into a $1501 Hot Dog, here’s a great video from Today’sTHV…

The Landers Family Partners with The One, Inc.

We receive an amazing amount of support from local businesses, and for that we are extremely grateful.

We were contacted by Landers last week and we’re really excited to let you know that they decided to partner with us to collect coats at five of their lots!  Not only is this a chance for us to bring in more coats that so many people need, but it’s also a great source of exposure for our little organization.  Landers will be collecting for us through the end of January.

Please take a second to hear a message from Steve Landers, Sr. about this partnership:


 

Please Help Us Reach Beyond Homelessness, To Provide Kids With Coats

It’s more than obvious that our main objective is to serve the un-sheltered homeless population.

But people in need extend far beyond that scope.  Which is why we remain very flexible in our mission to serve.

Each year we collect thousands of coats to distribute to those without one.  Last winter we were contacted by several schools about coats for their students who were without a coat in the dead of winter.  We worked hard and were able to provide many students with a warm coat.

This year is no different.  The challenge is back!  The Little Rock School District has reached out and asked for help with many of their students who have no coat to keep them warm, and we know that others will be reaching out soon as well.

Like most of you, we’d love nothing more than to lash out at parents who let their kids go without.  As reality would have it, that accomplishes nothing and children are still cold.

Cold at school.  Cold after school.  Cold at bus stops before and after school.  And it is simply not their fault.  So, we need your help to provide for them.

Here are a few ways you can help:

1.  Order coats online from Goodshop.  Here you can receive significant discounts and often free shipping, and with each purchase a percentage is donated to our organization.  So you’re providing coats directly, and helping us with the operations of getting them where they need to go.  To do this, please click HERE.

2.  Obviously if you have children of your own, you know how quickly they outgrow their coats each year.  If you have the coats they’ve outgrown, please take a little time and drop those off at any of our drop-off locations listed HERE.

3.  We continuously get requests for a coat for a sex/size that we just don’t have.  We refuse to ignore that need and will go and purchase a coat to meet that specific need.  Obviously that takes money, something we hate to ask for but must.  If you’d like to simply contribute financially to help us meet those needs, please use the donate button after you click HERE.  Please be sure that you specify that you want your support to go to coats when you process your donation.  If you prefer to mail a check, our mailing address is also listed on that link.

4.  PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.  We all know many people who have coats shoved away that we or our kids aren’t going to use.  Please ask around.  Send the link to this post in an email to friends or co-workers.  Tweet it, share it on Facebook.  Anything you can do to reach those that may be able to help is a BIG help to this effort.

We can’t thank you all enough for your support, love and prayers.  There’s no way that we could any of this stuff if it weren’t for you.  You’re all amazing!!

The One, Inc. Expands to the Searcy/White County Area

Knowing that great needs exist in most any area, we have always dreamed of putting more “Vans” in more places. Our second van, dubbed the “Mission Machine”, has now hit the streets in the Searcy and White County areas. Thanks to my good friend Seth Simmons‘ desire to team up with The One and meet some needs, we grow on.

Please take a minute to follow the Mission Machine on Twitter, HERE.

If you are in that area, please let us know if you’d like to help Seth on this quest to attack homelessness and poverty.

If you would like to contribute to the budget of the Mission Machine, please do so by using the PayPal button below.  All donations made through this link will go directly to meeting needs through this big green beauty!! (All donations are tax-deductible.)

Armbands Coming Soon!!

Since we posted some photos on Facebook of our The One, Inc. Armbands we have had several people ask if they could purchase these bands online. We are happy to announce that they will be available online soon! We are currently working with PayPal to get everything setup so that you can purchase armbands online! Stay tuned…

The proceeds from the sale of these armbands will be put to good use! We promise!!!