Compassion:  I am fortunate that my parents raised me to be kind, caring and respectful of others regardless of who they were or what they did or didn’t do.  I remember when I was younger, that the running joke at home was that we operated a “Home for Wayward Women”.  Mom would sometimes bring people home that needed a place a to stay for a few days until they got on their feet.  I remember one Easter morning when my mom was on her way to church, she came across a pretty rough looking character who was dirty and bloody walking down the road.  Shortly after seeing him, she saw a wrecked car and turned around to go help.  He was bleeding, had on no shoes, and was very drunk.  Mom brought him home and cleaned him up and called someone to come get him.  I also remember helping in the soup kitchen at Trinity UMC.  It is because of these things that I learned compassion.  I am so thankful that they instilled in me that compassion for others.

This year, The Bridge of Compassion Foundation, held it’s second annual Project Winter Warmup.  This year was a success and we were able to distribute approximately 200 winter coats as well as hats, gloves, scarves, socks and blankets.  This year we took a different approach and targeted areas where the homeless were congregating, before heading to a nearby shelter.  My friend Larry Flaxman has been the inspiration for this Foundation and was inspired by the homeless he saw under a bridge in downtown Atlanta.  Last year we were not able to locate the bridge, but this year we were able to locate it and it was our first stop of the night.  I must give kudos to Sherry Davenport, for without here handling the lion’s share of the work, this would not have been possible.  It was an emotional evening, there were tears, hugs, blessings and prayers.  I can not thank everyone enough for the help they provided, there were many other hands that made light work of sorting and packaging of the coats and other items and helping with the distribution.  I would like to call them all my friends, but they are much more than that, they are family.

I documented this years efforts again and below you will see some of what we did and some of what we experienced.  Compassion, caring, respect, and being there to listen made all the difference for some people.

My garage was ground zero for storage and sorting, but will all the help, we made quick work of task at hand.
Larry in the back ground sorting coats and Sherry adding up the numbers. 
Here are two people we were able to provide assistance to and hopefully we were able to provide a little more warmth on such a cold night.  I was in the low 30’s Friday night.
Larry spending time and listening to what Tom had to say about his life and how he came to be here.  Tom said he didn’t like the shelters because there were too many addicts in there and since he is clean now, he doesn’t want to me tempted.
Sherry, Nick and Lisa check on the person under the blankets to see if they needed anything.
Sherry with one of the fellows we were able to help.  Everyone was happy we were there.
Lisa adds a layer to someone in their sleeping bag near the State Capitol.
Larry giving an extra blanket to the lady under the covers.
On the steps of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception a couple of blocks from the capitol building, we found several people in need of blankets.  This fellow here was snoring so Sherry decided not to wake him, but added another blanket to him.
Larry and Sherry check on someone to see if they need anything.
At the end of the night we still had some coat and blankets left over.  We headed to the shelter off of Pine St. and were able to hand out items to people the hand not been able to get into the shelter for the night.  We also were able to bring in about 40 to 50 coats and blankets to some of men in the shelter. 
Shane, Larry and Jordan, gather up coats to distribute.
Shane shares some time and conversation with one of the people we helped.
Wrapped in here new blanket, this lady will be much warmer for the night.