The Van in Atlanta AKA "VanLanta"

VanLanta, the third member of The One, Inc.'s fleet of Vans hit the streets of Atlanta, Georgia on a mission to provide the basic life necessities that our un-sheltered homeless neighbors need, including clothes, tents, sleeping bags and hygiene items. Captaining The Van in Atlanta is Terry Ramone Smith, who came to Aaron Reddin after realizing a serious need on the streets of Atlanta for this type of operation. When "VanLanta" left the Central Arkansas headquarters of The One, Inc. w/ a plain white, nice factory paint job but as you can see in it's recent photo, it's been heavily customized since hitting the streets. If you would like to connect w/ VanLanta, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to contact VanLanta, please do so by email: TheVanAtl@gmail.com

VanLanta

#VanLanta relies heavily on your support.  Here are 5 things my homeless neighbors and friends in Metro ATL need.  Feel free to email me at Terry@theOneinc.org with any questions.

1.  Hygiene products. Soap, shampoo, deodarant, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc… are huge helps to my homeless friends who don’t always have easy access to these things.  We’d love for your youth group, church or secular organization to do a service project and make hygiene bags for my homeless friends.

2.  Socks.  A good clean pair of socks goes a long way.  These are consistently my greatest need.  I can never have too many socks.

3.  Shoes.  People are constantly asking me for shoes and I never have enough.

4.  Water.  Clean water to drink, complete hygiene with and cook with is a great need for my homeless neighbors.  We give out bottles and gallon jugs of water whenever we can.

5.  This is the hardest thing for me to ask for.  We need dependable, consistent and recurring donations to keep our van on the road.  Upkeep, gas, and insurance are our biggest costs for #VanLanta.  We cannot do what we do without dependable, consistent and recurring monetary donations from folks like you.  You can donate at http://theoneinc.org/donations and specify your donation for #VAnLanta.  Thank you.

 

If you want another way to donate to VanLanta other than PayPal, please email me at terry@theoneinc.org and I will give you an address to which you can mail a check.

 

Thanks,

 

Terry

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

Terry’s Birthday (VanLanta)

 

I’m Terry.  I operate VanLanta, The One Inc’s Atlanta Van.  And, my birthday is in 30 days (August 17th).  I have only one wish for my birthday: to raise as much money for VanLanta as one possibly can.  So, for the next 30 days, I’m asking you to donate generously and often to VanLanta here.

 

The VanLanta came to the Atlanta Metro area in February of 2012 and since February we have served hundreds of our ATL friends who sleep outside.  And, we’re going to continue to do so.  Every week, I meet someone who had a bed the previous week.  We do our best to make that transition into houselessness as painless as possible, by provinding them bedding, clothing and tents (when we can).  We love what we’re doing, but if we want to keep doing it, we have to have your support.  Please, consider going here and setting up a monthly donation of $5 to $100. Don’t forget to specify it’s for VanLanta if this post urged you to donate!

 

Thanks so much! If you’re wondering about our other needs, check this out.

Our Current Needs in Atlanta…

One question I never get tired of hearing or answering is “What does The Van Need?” Well. I’m glad you asked.

The Van needs clothes. As Summer approaches, specifically we need colored t-shirts (with and without pockets) shorts, socks, underwear, belts, hats, bug spray, sun screen, water…..

It’s a good thing I made a list.

  • Clothes
  • Beanie” caps
  • hooded jackets
  • coats
  • socks
  • long johns
  • shorts
  • pants
  • t-shirts
  • dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews

As Summer approaches, we need

  • shorts
  • colored t-shirts
  • water (gallon jugs and individual bottles)
  • belts
  • hats
  • socks
  • underwear (new and unwrapped)

Hygiene Items

  • shampoo
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • combs
  • mouth wash
  • pads and tampons
  • deodarant
  • bug spray
  • gallon zip loc bags

Camping equipment.

  • sleeping bags
  • tents
  • camp stoves
  • portable heaters
  • ice chests
  • folding chairs

Your financial contributions

  • Wal-Mart gifts Cards
  • Lowes/Home Depot gift cards
  • Jiffy-Lube Gift Cards (Oil Changes for the van)
  • Kroger Gift Cards (Gas)
  • Gas station gift cards

If you want to help out with The Van Atlanta, drop us a line @ thevanatl@gmail.com, tweet or facebook us.

You can donate here. If you have material donations and are in the Atlanta area, contact us via email, facebook or twitter.

Thank you very much,

The Van Atlana
Terry Smith

I will be updating this list in the future with more specific needs. Keep an eye out.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to comment here.

Current Needs: Atlanta, Georgia

If you are in the Atlanta, Georgia Area and would like to help out, please find our current needs list below. If you’d like to volunteer yourself or organization, please leave a comment below and let us know or send us an email to: TheVanAtl@gmail.com

  1. Your Prayers.- Oh that is such a Christian thing to say… Blah blah blah… Seriously. The one thing The Van needs more than your money is your prayers. Prayer works.
  2. Clothes.- Any article of clothing without holes or stains, we will take. Please no “used” underwear, although lightly used bras are usable. “Beanie” caps are very useful, hooded jackets, coats, socks, long johns, shorts, pants, t-shirts, dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews), etc.
  3. Hygiene Items- Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, mouth wash, pads, deodarant, etc. (Also, gallon size ziploc bags for hygiene bags to give out)
  4. Non-Perishable Food Items. Anything that comes canned, pop-top soup cans, protein bars, bottled water (tons of it), etc.
  5. #10 Cans. If your coffee comes in a large #10 can with a plastic lid, the Van Atlanta, would love to take your old coffee cans off your hands. We can use them for “Can for the Van”s for people to put their spare change in.
  6. Camping equipment. We can use away sleeping bags, tents, camp stoves, portable heaters, ice chests, folding chairs, etc.. for out homeless neighbors who do have “camps” where many of them sleep.
  7. Your financial contributions. If you want to contribute financially, you can buy The Van Atlanta a Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card. You can donate at http://theoneinc.org or you can purchase t-shirts, arm bands or vehicle decals at http://theoneinc.org/merchandise. Every dollar helps.

I will be updating this list in the future with more specific needs. Keep an eye out.

If you have any more questions, please put them in the comments and I will answer them here. For now, I’m going to work. Peace unto you

Some Folks Don’t Understand What We Do…

And that’s okay.

This loveable and well-meaning person asked me this morning-as I allowed some homeless folks to go through what jackets, blankets and personal items I had-if I was afraid that they might steal from me or take more than they needed.,

My response was “All of this was given to me and I’m giving it away.  I give up my right to regulate who gets what when I say, ‘I give it away’.”  Most of these folks won’t take more than they can carry or more than they need.  They have packs that they carry and they absolutely don’t want unnecessary weight.  Our very slogan is “No rules, no apologies, just help.” And I’m going to abide by that statement, for ever.

Another question or concern I often hear is, “If you give them all they need, then they use what money they do have on things they don’t need (like beer or drugs).”

My mission is not to enable an alcoholic or drug abuser.  My mission is to give to anyone who asks.  I don’t give away much food and I don’t give any cash.  But what I do have I give.  I do that because that’s what Jesus tells me to do.  And I help others do that as well.  I give others a chance to give.  What happens after I give is not my concern.  I do what Jesus tells me to do.  And if that’s “enabling”, so be it.  I’m doing right by God and I sleep perfectly well at night.

If you believe in what we’re doing here in Atlanta, you can give at Http://theoneinc.org.  You can follow us on twitter and like us on facebook.  Email us at thevanatl@gmail.com.

If you have material donations, email us or contact us on facebook or twitter.

Thank you all and may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you from now and unto the end of the age, amen.

Why? (The Van Atlanta)

This morning, I (Terry) woke up at 7 am.  I had breakfast and I went to the storage unit for The Van Atlanta.  I made sure the van was packed and I drove to the old Big Lots parking lot in Douglasville and started giving stuff away.  Around 9:30, the wonderful people from Daily Bread Ministries (a ministry of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Douglasville) showed up and started giving out sandwiches, coffee, and groceries.  A few of them saw what I was doing and came over and stirred up conversation.  A lot of them praised “The Van” and what we do.  One lady asked me if I was “one of those Occupy people” because of my 99<the One Bracelet (http://theoneinc.org/merchandise).  I assured her I was not.

Later, as I was preparing to leave and come home, one of the elder men with the church came up and asked me, “Why the Van Atlanta?”

That was an easy question. Because Jesus told me to.  And I don’t mean, “Jesus told me especially to do this.”  i didn’t hear a voice.  There was no rumble of thunder.  It’s right there in Matthew 25.  When you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the prisoner, you care for me.  Jesus told me to.  He told you to.  He told us all to.

My friend, Aaron is The One, Inc(http://theoneinc.org). I am The One, Inc.  You could be a part of it too.  We are doing the Gospel in the best way we can.  We’d love your help.  Connect with us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Van-Atlanta/291230277602033#!/pages/The-Van-Atlanta/291230277602033

Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/thevanatl.

Donate here: http://theoneinc.org

We have a list of needs here: http://thevanatl.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-van-atl-needs/

Thank you and God bless.  #TheVanAtl

What Does The Van in Atlanta Need?

The number one question The Van gets is “How can I help?”  Here’s some answers.

The Van could use your material and monetary donations.

When/ Where to send donations:

If you’re donating monies, go to http://theoneinc.org and click donate. If you don’t feel comfortable donating online, please feel free to buy us a gas card or Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card. If you have material donations, contact The Van at 678-369-3109 and we will either come pick them up or give you shipping information.

What does The VanLanta need?

1. Your Prayers.- Oh that is such a Christian thing to say… Blah  blah blah… Seriously. The one thing The Van needs more than your money is your prayers.  Prayer works.

2. Clothes.- Any article of clothing without holes or stains, we will take.  Please no “used” underwear, although lightly used bras are usable.  “Beanie” caps are very useful, hooded jackets, coats, socks, long johns, shorts, pants, t-shirts, dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews), etc.  Don’t forget about belts and suspenders….

3. Hygiene Items- Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, mouth wash, pads, deodarant, etc. (Also, gallon size ziploc bags for hygiene bags to give out) (We are low on hygiene items especially deodarant and shaving cream this week)

4. Non-Perishable Food Items, especially pop-top soup cans, protein bars, and bottled water.  We can never have enough bottled water..

5. Camping equipment.  We can use away sleeping bags, tents, camp stoves, portable heaters, ice chests, folding chairs, etc.. for out homeless neighbors who do have “camps” where many of them sleep.

6. Your financial contributions. If you want to contribute financially, you can buy The Van Atlanta a Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card, a gas card or you can donate at http://theoneinc.org.  You can also purchase t-shirts, arm bands or vehicle decals at http://theoneinc.org/merchandise.  Every dollar helps. Our biggest expense is keeping VanLanta on the road.  That includes fuel cost and maintenance (oil changes, tires, replacing bulbs, etc.).