Tag Archives: homeless

A Providential Encounter

I arrived home from a trip to another state last night just before a Spring snow fall. Schools closed and I took a vacation day to be with my children. Spring snow is hard to accurately predict–or the weather people missed something. It was just cold enough to snow but not enough to stick long. We all should have been at work and school.

At midday, I went out for quick errands. I pulled into the bank parking lot and saw them, Brian and Marla. They are a homeless couple that live among the trees behind our Walmart. I hadn’t seen them in weeks. Brian and Marla are chronically homeless. They admit that a lifetime of addiction and some other bad choices led them into a vicious cycle of instability. They never expected to be “out there.” Burned bridges with family who had just had enough eroded their only real help. And so they bounce between our town and others nearby just barely hanging on.

I know all of this and realize they had some ability to choose differently. But who am I to judge? I only know that I cannot ignore the downtrodden in my path—and Brian and Marla are often in my path. When I pulled into the bank lot today and saw them, I wondered if I could possibly sneak out the back. Had they seen me? Ha! I won’t ignore the downtrodden? I almost did.

I decided to roll up to the light and quickly greet them as I went on my way, but I could see Marla was crying. They had been packing up their camp behind Walmart. Neighbors over the ridge had accused them of stealing firewood; he denied this vehemently saying, “They just don’t want us in their backyard.” They were given two weeks to vacate the land. So today as Brian packed up the tent and things, Marla had stood holding a sign as snow chilled her to her bones. I drove up just then.

Thanks to you friends here at ACR, I was able to quickly set them up at a nearby motel. Marla wondered if she should wait in the car. No, I replied. I wanted to make sure she was treated with respect. The registration manager was very kind and offered a discounted rate. He told Marla about a computer in the lobby, free breakfast and free long distance anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. She’d call her father; he’s been ill. I could feel her relief. The two nights will give them a short reprieve, and it is supposed to warm up nicely in that time.

These are short-term helps and not solutions, but it was a most providential encounter. Marla could not stop thanking me. Her tiny, frail body felt fragile when she’d give me a hug. I told her that friends of ACR made it possible. As tears fell, she told me about the last week (not only difficult but scary), and how timely my help was.

Our encounter today was no coincidence. No, it was a providential encounter, and this is my thanks to all of you who enable us to be the hands and feet of God’s love to the neediest of needy.

With deep thanksgiving,


We Did It…Together!

Thank you, friends, for your generous help in meeting the need of the homeless couple in the last week. They are housed and the wife is readying for surgery next week. The entire $3,000 need was met to ensure they will remain housed for six months as they re-apply for disability benefits. There is hope where it was lost a short time ago.

Together, we made a difference for this couple among the poorest of the poor. Thank you, all, who heard and who helped. May your kindness and love be returned to you in full.

Love and peace,


Previous news about this project
First news about this project

An Update on the Homeless Couple

February 25, 2013

Dear friends,

Our board member, Ronita, was able to get this precious couple into the efficiency unit over the weekend though the lease will not be signed until tomorrow. Her tireless work in advocating for and lovingly serving these two is selfless and powerful. What began with her meeting this destitute and hopeless couple has resulted in the compassionate response of many to ease their burdens.

Through your generous donations, a little more than half of the $3,000 needed to cover this family’s first six months of rent was received in just two days. They are now in a small apartment, sheltered from the cold and dangers of sleeping in their car. They can now heat food and enjoy a warm meal; they had been using food stamps to purchase only non perishables, and they had no means by which to cook or heat food. The wife has a safe, warm place to recover from her upcoming surgery. And they have hope again because Ronita, ACR and you really do care.

My dream when founding ACR was that we would love the least with the love and respect they so often are denied while working to ease their burdens. This update is my sincere thanks to my board and to you, our friends, who have joined us in loving these two and many others in ways that really do make a difference.

Thank you again for your gifts of love. And if you would like to help ensure this couple is housed for six months, there is still time to help. Just visit our giving page.


Kristie Fry
Executive Director

Previous news about this project

Sleeping in a Car in the W*almart Lot — Nobody’s Dream, but One Family’s Sudden Reality

320px-Wal-Mart_in_Madison_HeightsHello, friends: The following is from Ronita Rupert, vice president of our board. Please read about a precious family she has been helping. ACR has taken on this project and we’ll work to ease this family’s overwhelming burden.

February 22, 2013

I met a couple who have recently become homeless. February 4th was the first night they spent sleeping in their car in the Walmart parking lot. We’ve had the coldest of days this winter in the past few weeks. I could not just walk on by, and I cannot imagine how frightening it would be to sleep in my car during frigid nights.

Due to multiple serious health problems, the husband applied for disability. The process was a year long and ended with his denial of benefits. I have heard that many are denied the first time they apply but have a better chance on appeal. Anyway, they have watched their savings and all personal resources drain while their situation did not improve. Though they’d never imagined themselves homeless, it became an unavoidable reality for these precious two.

By the time we crossed paths, they had no money, no income, no ability to work, and no home. Last week, a co-worker of mine provided funds to put minutes on their cell phone, to purchase a gas card, and to get them a hotel room for a couple nights over a very cold, snowy weekend.

The wife is sick and needs surgery; it is scheduled for March 7, 2013. We are very concerned for her and the risks to her if sleeping in a cold car, as well as her comfort during recovery following surgery. I have been to the Franklin County Homeless Shelter, the Cold Weather Shelter, and Candle Heart, and they do not have any empty beds. Salvation Army, SCAPP, HAP, and Mental Health housing all need them to have some kind of income before they can help with housing.

So after exhausting all government resources I know of, and after four days of working to find help for them (that’s four more nights in their car!), I am turning to our friends here at A Child’s Refuge. Together, we can make a huge difference in the life of this truly marginalized and needy family.

God Bless,
Ronita Rupert

THE NEED: $3,000.
We have located an efficiency unit in the borough that rents for $500/month with utilities included. $3,000 will cover the rent for six months, while also providing immediate shelter. We believe it will also give this family some time to work on their disability benefits appeal and to await a new reply.

If you would like to help us to love on this precious family in need, please visit our giving page. All donations are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

I am incredibly thankful for our board of directors. God placed leaders in place that share the vision and passion for loving the least, as evidenced by this hard work by Ronita.

Thank you all for your love for others.

For the children!

Kristie Fry,
Executive Director

*photo credit