Tis the Season

Tis the Season


Yes, the season is upon us to aid those who are less fortunate. When I think of the holiday season, I am compelled with a reason to give.  The Femi Care Project is a worthy cause because it aids women in distress from all walks of life.  We live in a society where the human climate for aid and relief is dying; too often, promises of a political agendas or some kind of governmental program are dismantled due to the lack of funding.  Thanks to the concept for the service in giving.  Many people who suffer from lack will have to depend on communities that will give.  Women who have fallen into destitution fit snuggly into the disenfranchised category and are dismissed as worthless.

It truly is better to give than to receive because it helps those who are less fortunate.  Giving makes us feel good about ourselves, it’s also humbling and acknowledges how blessed we are as individuals to live life abundantly.  

I don’ t believe anyone wants to live or sleep on the streets on purpose. I am convinced that no woman would forgo personal hygiene and grooming unless there were some insinuating circumstances that would prevent her from keeping up with personal clean habits.  

I was once asked a question that has helped me to define the Femi Care Project and the women we serve; “how do these women become destitute and homeless?” At first I was annoyed, then sadden that someone could be so out of touch.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see a woman on the streets making her silent but in your face petition for help.  Did she fall from grace because of an addiction or some shameful choices?  Yes, in many cases we are at fault for our out of control lives and situations but, that does not give anyone the right to stand in judgement of someone else’s circumstance.  We must always remember that the shoes we wear today can get holes in them tomorrow.  

I am my sister's keeper

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Okay, so I promised myself that I would TRY not to rant about what I call Dirty Pajamas.  So, what are dirty pajamas? They are the sacred bedclothes that have been transformed into overly worn, faded out fabric whose pants hem are ragged and filthy from dragging the ground outside in the street. And to add insult to injury they are often sported with filthy pink shaggy slippers! These are the bedclothes that have been exposed to grimy radicals of impending sludge due to external street wear. 


Now that the Dirty Pajamas have been clearly defined, why do you suppose more and more women are wearing them out in public?   Why has our society become so trifling in their countenance? I am happy to proclaim that the Millennia’s are not the only ones to blame for this fashion abuse. I have witnessed Gen X and Baby Boomers rocking the same nasty looking dirty pajamas in grocery stores, walking the dog and most recently scouring the concourse at the airport!


 Many people think these women are simply lazy and unkempt. Many women who wear Dirty Pajamas would argue that they are clean.  But from the looks of things it appears they haven’t used soap and water for ions! I agree that there is some truth to this perception of looking unclean but I would also add that there is a lack of self-respect and a deranged idea that this is acceptable attire.  I liken this trend to men who like to wear their pants sagging.  No matter how much you scream DESPECIBLE, the lower the pants will sag as grown boys struggle to walk down the street with their underwear exposed or worse with their butt cracks out for all to see but that’s another blog.

 Ladies let me be clear, it is not a good look to wear bedclothes as street apparel. It sends a message of a careless existence and to not be taken seriously for any type of engagement.  If you want respect it has to start with your own self-worth. We live in a society where perception and first impression are lasting ones. Now, if you don’t care about being invisible or valued by all means keep on wearing those Dirty Pajamas and all your wishes will come true.




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What these women really need is to get jobs and stand on their own two feet and stop expecting hand-outs”. This statement is something I hear quite often when I see a woman standing behind her cardboard sign. I can appreciate the expectations of self-independence but, what would be the personal care expectations of a hiring manager or a school administrator for a potential candidate?  There is a blaring personal care progression that needs to occur before a woman can present herself and be taken seriously for any type of business.  Personal hygiene and grooming is needed before any type of presentation.  In most cases it is the thing we all take for granted and put into practice everyday. 


We live in a society where first impressions are important and lasting.  I don’t know of anyone who can go into a job interview without being clean and groomed.  I fail to understand why it would be strongly expected from a woman who is standing on a street corner holding a sign asking for assistance.  Many of us have sat in our cars and rolled up our windows as we approach the so-called beggar woman at the traffic light.  We preoccupy ourselves with our phones or radio knobs as we sit in our metal protective box, pretend she is not there and beckon the light to hurry and change to green making her invisible to our psyche.

What these women really need are personal care tools to clean and groom themselves so that she can engage in any endeavor chosen to care and support herself” We need to stop judging others whenwe don’t know the challenging journey's these women behind the cardboard have endured.  The service in giving is the ability to empathize without shaming. Just imagine if it were you, how would you like the world to receive you while exposed to unfathomable hardships?


"No one has ever become poor by giving"  Anne Frank


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I Tried To Save A Homeless Woman From Freezing & The City Couldn't Help Us

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, we waited to speak to the homeless on Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Our first case seemed to appear out of Borough Hall’s shadows, hunched over a banged-up walker, wrapped in layers of black, a silver beanie peaking from under her hoodie, its brim flecked with glitter. “Hi,” said my teammate for the evening. “We’re volunteers with the Department Of Homeless Services. Would it be OK if we asked you a few questions? Do you have a place to stay tonight?”

She began to cry; a single tear perched on the ridge of her cheek, which seemed to expand in the cold. “I can’t get down there,” she said, pointing at the nearest subway entrance. She was 71. “I ride the trains at night, but the elevators won’t work. They’re all out of order. I tried over there and over there, but I can’t get in nowhere.”

In name, the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE, for your hashtag) isn’t a rescue operation; it’s a massive citywide survey, which tries to count the number of people living on the streets of New York. Each winter, over 3,000 volunteers canvass every nook and cranny of NYC, usually on the coldest night imaginable.

It’s partially an image campaign, to boost awareness of homelessness and give the city a better idea of where street denizens gather on the coldest nights of the year in order to better allocate resources. But the main reason for the count is that the federal government requires it. The City receives funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) based on the size of its number, a data-based stand-in for the severity of its problem.

The count’s methodology is thorough yet simple. At training centers across the five boroughs, volunteers are divided into teams of between three and six people. Each team is assigned a series of canvass zones—streets and subway stations where, during winter nights, the number of homeless tends to spike. Volunteers walk a single path through each zone, stopping every single person they encounter, rapidly filling out a questionnaire and, if asked for help, steer the homeless toward shelters and drop-in centers—safe spaces which provide meals, showers, and basic medical care, but no beds.

During our training an hour earlier, we were instructed that the City was in the midst of Code Blue, meaning anyone sleeping outside, anyone immobile with exposed extremities or crashing from intoxication, should receive an offer of immediate transportation to a safe, warm space.

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