O Shenandoah! Dirt Road Journal

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"A Season For Giving" by Jeannette Harris



A few national and international helping organizations with administrative overhead of less than ten percent
American Jewish World Service, 15 W. 26h St., New York, NY 10010
212-683-1161
American Red Cross, Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013
800-842-220
Americares Foundation, 161 Cherry St., New Canaan, CT 06840
800-486-4357
CARE Inc., 660 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016
212-686-3110
Catholic Relief Services, Box 17220, Baltimore, MD 21297-0304
301-625-2220
Direct Relief International, Box 30820, Santa Barbara, CA 93130-0820
805-687-3694
Food for the Hungry, Box E, Scottsdale, AZ 85252
602-998-3100
International Rescue Committee, 386 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
212-679-0010
Lutheran World Relief, 390 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10016
212-532-6350

And one example of many outreaches for the homeless and poor established now in towns and cities throughout Appalachia

The River, 125 West Main Street, Johnson City, TN 37604
423-926-8111
A non-profit Ministry of First Presbyterian Church (donations accepted at 105 Boone St., Johnson City TN 37604) staffed primarily by volunteers since 2004, where "women meet to listen, learn, laugh ... and wash clothes," providing a safe place with washing machines and dryers, cleaning supplies, irons and ironing boards, sewing machines, showers, exercise equipment, art puzzles to construct and display, crafts, hair cuts, computers, books and newspapers, a community resource board, job search assistance, a telephone for local calls, resource referrals, a writing center, and educational classes in cooking, knitting and budgeting, plus morning devotions, a prayer board, and mentors in faith with prayerful counseling.



"A Season For Giving"

by Jeannette Harris


Joe pulled with grey-black fingers on the buttons of his fraying green army coat, muttered, stared into the rows of fading brass. "Six, clubs," he laughed out loud as a passerby turned. "Got a cigarette?" Joe asked. "I need a cigarette." The woman moved out toward the street, on down the sidewalk. Joe chuckled hoarsely and fumbled into his pants pocket for a near-empty bottle of Thunderbird. Resting it carefully next to his right leg, he reached in the other pocket, pulled out a grimy cache of odd, torn playing cards. "Seven," Joe flipped one over, "hearts." Eyes bright, he held up a card and waved it as the man walked by. A quarter bounced, clinked against the wine. Picking it up, Joe rubbed an edge against his cheek and dropped it into a ragged shirt pocket. "Two," he grinned, turning a card, "spades."

AnnaMarie pulled a worn red-knitted cap firmly, close over her ears as she stared into the wrinkles and bulges of jammed paper bags. Stray ends of yellow-white hair wavered nervously in the air, fell in greased strands onto her shoulders and back. Streaked toenails cracked and curled, wound through the tears and holes of thick brown nylons that bunched in crooked rings and circled her ankles. "Where's Christy?" she wondered, turning her head toward the broken brick buildings trimmed in greying wood, the loosening, falling, floating slivers of green peeling paint. Bits of bottles and jagged cans, telephone poles, webs of cable and wire, ripped and crumbling billboards edged the dark streets and vacant sidewalks. AnnaMarie squinted. "There's Christy's chestnut," she thought with relief. Forgetting her bags, AnnaMarie pulled herself up by the stoop railing, waited to get her balance, focused on the tree. As she walked, errant shards of glass cut into the soles of her feet. AnnaMarie hummed and turned a corner.

Joe stirred against the street lamp and sat up, intent, as a distant murmur, a drifting tone came clearer, closer. AnnaMarie stumbled slowly over patches and potholes, passing by Joe unaware. "Hey, missy," he called out suddenly. "Put on some shoes. You'll tear your feet all to ribbons." AnnaMarie stopped, gazed blankly toward her feet. "Shoes," she repeated and turned to see Joe's lined and stubbled face, his crumpled clothes. Her eyes widened. Chestnut Street, the shelter's on Chestnut Street. AnnaMarie smiled into Joe's clouding eyes as he nodded and reached for a card. "Three," he said. "Diamonds."

Click for ACR, Inc.'s Faith Evangelene SuperSection
"Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes:..." (Luke 10:3-4)


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Original material O Shenandoah! Country Rag April, 1996. All rights reserved.