The Sunday Love Project

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Sunday Love Project in Philadelphia

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Excerpts from Margaux Murphys weekly posts concerning Jake and Ger.

8/29/16

Sunday LOVE was something special yesterday. Maybe it was that I was so excited about it. Maybe it was the food. But most likely, it was our volunteers. I love these people in a very profound way.
The weather was not as bad as it could have been. It was hot, but why bother complaining about that which we cannot change? Let’s focus on the thing we can change: hunger for a day for 162 people at LOVE Park and in Kensington.
We served egg salad, turkey and cheese, and chicken salad sammies, salad, pickles, fruit cups, rice krispie treats, granola bars, bananas, and water.
Thank you to our cooks and food contributors: Megan McLaughlin, Jocelyn Craighead, The Adamoli’s, Alexa Napoleon, Shannon Dougherty, and Erica Alimario.
Much gratitude to our on-site volunteers: Meghan, Rowland, and Jude Adamoli, Aino Assmus and Gerd and Mia Diewald, Virginia Friedman, Ger Ronan, and Melvin.
Three year old Jude stole the show with his smile. He handed out bananas and managed to make each recipient grin. His mom asked me if it would be a hindrance to bring him out. Quite the opposite. The children make the whole day better. They bring a levity that makes us forget the heat, forget the unfortunate circumstances of why our folks are in line. I encourage everyone to bring their kids out. Let’s plant the seed of compassion while we giggle at their cuteness.
We served 100 meals in 6 minutes at LOVE Park.
I am so grateful for our volunteers, the well-seasoned and the occasional. It doesn’t matter when you show up, just as long as it happens. We all have busy lives. But, this type of thing, loving our city’s homeless, enriches our lives and opens our eyes.
A tourist who wandered by and asked about our organization told us he is from Massachusetts. Imagine his surprise when I told him that one of our volunteers also lives in Mass and comes every week to distribute food! Ger Ronan, you are a gem and we are so fortunate to have you. To just stumble upon us and then show such devotion and commitment…it puts me at a loss for words. Thank you.

9/12/16

Thank you to our on-site volunteers: Ger Ronan and Virginia Friedman at LOVE and Jocelyn Craighead, and Aino Assmus and Gerd Diewald at The Last Stop.

The best news of LOVE Park: Some of you may have been following the ongoing saga of Ger Ronan. He is one of our volunteers that happened upon us as he was looking for his homeless friend, Jake. Ger used to meet with Jake every week, until Jake stopped showing up. So, even through Ger moved to Massachusetts, he continued to drive to Philly every weekend, since June, to look for his friend. Week after week, it was disappointment. But he was religious in showing up to volunteer with us.

The first time I met Ger, he showed me a picture and asked me if I had seen this man. I hadn’t. But I encouraged him to talk to the homeless because the community is tightly knit. He started showing Jake’s picture and while some people thought they had seen Jake, it yielded no actual results. When Ger left us last week, he said he was going to the Liberty Bell, the first place he met Jake. 

While I was driving to Kensington, I received a picture of Ger and Jake, in real time with a caption that read, “HOLY SHIT.” Indeed, he found him! Today, Ger sent me a message saying he was sitting at his desk, giggling to himself, in disbelief he finally found him.

Ger’s commitment to finding one person defines compassion. I am so grateful to have him on board with Sunday LOVE. I was nearly in tears in my car, feeling just a fraction of what he must have felt when he found his friend. This is what it’s all about. Not just showing love, but going the distance. And in Ger’s case, that is eight hours of round trip driving every weekend. It doesn’t get much better than that. I am so excited to meet Jake next week. He has no idea how many people had eyes on the street for him. His picture has been in my car for months. I have pulled over at random intersections to show his picture. I cannot believe it finally happened.

9/19/16

A million thanks to our on-site volunteers: Ger Ronan, Virginia Friedman, Gerd Diewald, and Aino Assmus.
The line flew by at LOVE. It’s so hard to know when we will need extra food. Some weeks are packed and others, near desolate. It really just depends on which groups precede our arrival. My feeling is that we can never have too much because we make the second stop in Kensington and there is rarely anything left untouched there. So please, keep the food flowing. I would love to encourage some new or returning cooks. It seems the same people are cooking every week and I know that will eventually take a toll. Let’s switch it up!
The highlight at LOVE is that we all got to meet Jake. If you have not been following this story, here it is: Our volunteer, Ger Ronan, has been driving to Philly from Massachusetts every weekend in search of the homeless man he befriended and would meet with weekly. When Jake stopped showing up, Ger was on a mission to find him. After 4 months, that finally happened last week. Ger brought Jake out yesterday and I was so pleased to meet him. Jake told me he had been staying at The Sunday Breakfast Mission. He also told me he wasn’t able to meet up with Ger at times because he had no clothes. Jake reiterated a story I have heard a hundred times: things get stolen in shelters. It is the reason a lot of our homeless folks don’t want extra “stuff”. Even if they need it. When you have something that someone wants, you become a target. (I once heard of a knife fight over a thermos).
Jake’s attitude was positive. He thought Ger just stopped showing up. He was obviously happy to be reunited with his old friend. Ger later thanked me for talking to Jake as he explained Jake can be a bit shy around new people. But I think we made him feel at ease. I would like to think so anyway.