Homeless for the Holidays – Helping Hands – Part II

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Image by John Zangas

Its dusk on Christmas Eve. A white van of Samaritans stops at the corner of Eye Street. On queue the men shuffle to its hatch and line up. She opens its side door at the curb. At McPherson the men linger late into the night, waiting for food, gloves, hats, and tonight’s menu: steamy soup and flowered biscuits. In it they find temporary salvation. The soup steams in thScreen Shot 2015-01-03 at 1.29.38 PMe night and smells sweet with rosemary. Samaritans leave a few extra portions on the ledge of the escalators for the latecomers, but most of it is abandoned or left for pigeons. Later on the subway cleaning staff will discard it.

Kim Logan, 48, hands out white bags with with home made soup, then walks to the metro carrying several more bags in each hand. A Christian, she has come with a group of families volunteering to help others on this damp drizzly Christmas Eve where others have made their home.

“We want to give back to those less fortunate than we are,” she says while handing out homemade cookies, enough for over 200 people. She turns to work as more people come in from the park. “It’s hurtful to see this,” she motions towards the gathering crowd at the metro. “We try to go where others don’t go.”

But what she doesn’t realize is her group is the third to come to the McPherson metro stop in the last hour. She speaks of how a group of her friends “baked cookies for three days.” “We served a group of six children at our last stop in Franklin Park–their parents were nowhere to be seen.” “We won’t go to shelters because that’s where everyone else goes.” She hands each man a bag with sandwiches, bottled water, fruit, and bags of the chocolate chip cookies they baked. “Will thaScreen Shot 2015-01-03 at 1.29.57 PMt be enough? Do you want another one?” She asks an older Hispanic man who speaks little English. He thanks her almost inaudibly. 

They are not part of any one church or group but from her neighborhood in Fairfax who decided they wanted to do something this year to help others. She tells of how they pooled their money to buy the food and together, working in teams, assembled 200 bags for the Christmas holiday giveaway. “There are more people here than last year,” she says. In a few minutes she gives away the last of the bags and the Samaritan families drive down Vermont St. towards the suburbs.

The temperature is dropping as a stiff North wind builds making it feel like 20 degrees. It ushers a cold night for the huddled. They leave behind parts of their uneaten meals on the marble floor to find a place for the night.