Monthly Archives: May 2009

HOUSE NEWS: Prison reform, harvest-time, help needed, and two timely movies

Dear friends,

For this week’s schedule, please click here.

Highlights from this week:

Prison Reform Meeting in Gainesville –  Patrick Finn, friend of the GCW and prison reform advocate, will be co-chairing an organizational meeting for FL-CURE – Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants on May 24 from 11am – 1 pm. Click here for details and directions and here for more information about CURE.  Patrick gave a very interesting talk on prison reform at a roundtable last month, and we encourage those of you concerned about our current prison system to attend the meeting.

Gardening – We’re beginning to harvest cucumbers, beans, okra, tomatoes, and peppers. The first zinnias are starting to bloom and the sunflowers and corn stalks are waist high. We could use help watering, weeding, harvesting and staking.  Let us know when you’re available and we’ll put you to work!  A big thank you to the great group of international students in the ESL program at UF for helping this past weekend!

Blue House to Go – We’re putting to good use the bounty of vegetables we are receiving from the generous farmers at the Alachua County Farmers Market.  Kelli could use some help on Monday mornings between 9 and 11 transforming bread dough and fresh produce into “veggie pockets.” At around 11 we’ll begin distributing them to folks turned away from the St. Francis House soup line (due to recent complaints by several downtown business owners that SFH is serving lunch to too many people…).

Media – We don’t usually make movie recommendations, but we’ve seen two recently that we would like to recommend to you.  “The Soloist” is still showing at Royal Park this week and offers some good insight into issues of mental health and homelessness, as well as the limitations and possibilities inherent to being human.  And Sunday night we watched “The Ground Truth” – a documentary on the current Iraq war, its soldiers, and veterans told by those who’ve served.  It honors them to hear their stories – especially as we approach Memorial Day weekend. Rent the video, or you can watch it online here.

Again, please check out our weekly schedule here and join us if you can!

HOUSE NEWS: Gardening help, cafe, Breakfast Brigade, Blue House To Go

Hi folks,

For a complete schedule for this week, click here.

Thanks for the extra help people have provided over the past two weeks while most of our regular student volunteers were gone. We’re still going strong thru late June and appreciate any help folsk can offer, whether just once in a while or on a regular basis.

GARDENING: We are starting to harvest veggies (cucumbers were first!) from our organic garden and we could use extra help getting the garden weeded and regularly watered, especially with this dry patch we’ve gone thru. Weeding and watering are done on an as-needed basis, so if you ever have any free time, drop by and we’ll walk down with you and show you what needs to be done.

DOROTHY’S CAFE: Join us for prep, 9:30-noon or serving, 12-5pm, each Wednesday.

BREAKFAST BRIGADE: Friday morns, 4:15-7am.

“BLUE HOUSE TO GO:” A new project of the house that we started as a response to the limiting of lunches served each day at St. Francis House. Each Monday, from 9-11am, we’re preparing easy to carry “veggie pockets,” using veggies gleaned from the 441 Farmers Market and from our our garden. Once prepared, between 11-1, we’re leaving about half of them at the house to give out to folks who were turned away at St. Francis and have made their way over to our home; the other half, we’re taking downtown and sharing with anyone who was not able to get lunch at St. Francis. Extra help preparing or serving would be greatly appreciated.

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Summer schedule, Leroy got stabbed, Mass on Thursday and more…

Dear friends,

Our summer schedule is now set! For the next 6-plus weeks, until we close for our summer sabbatical in mid-June, click here to see what we’ll be doing schedule-wise.

A GOOD FRIEND ASSAULTED, RECOVERING: Many of you know Leroy, a former guest and regular volunteer at the house. On Saturday, Leroy was attacked by someone who mistook him for someone else and wanted money from him. Leory fought off his attacker but was seriously wounded–stabbed in the side and slashed in several places on his hand. He has a nurse call us to let us know that he was in Shands recovering, and after an overnight stay, Johnny picked him up and brought him back to the house to stay for a few days or so as he continues to heal. He has stitches crisscrossing the palm of his hand and it took 15 staples to close his side. We ask that you keep Leroy in your prayers as he recovers.

MONTHLY MASS AT THE GCW: Join us this Thursday, at 6pm, for our monthly Mass with Fr. John Phillips, our chaplain and pastor of Holy Faith Catholic Church. We celebrate this small, home Mass on the first Thursday of each month. Potluck dinner will follow.

VEGGIE POCKETS – aka BLUE HOUSE TO GO: Since the “powers that be” began requiring St. Francis House to stop serving meals after the 130th person has been served each day, we’ve heard lots of stories about the people who’ve been turned away – especially from people stopping by the house during the week asking if we have anything extra.  Because this is harvest season, and we have so many vegetables, it seemed like the ideal time to resurrect “veggie pockets.” Kelli used to make these for the HomeVan when it first began and it’s a great way to package up a lot of nutrition without a lot of packaging.  We’re serving them Mondays at noon as a “to go” meal. This week, they were made out of  kidney beans, greens, yellow squash, onions and garlic stir-fried and wrapped up in our famous bread dough. They’re good! It’s great to be able to meet this need – and Blue House To Go will take the place of Sunday’s cafe at least till fall.  If you want to help out, stop by the house between 9 and noon on Monday morning – and bring some cheddar cheese if you want to delight some people.

BLUE HOUSE PANTS: Good news and bad news… The bad news is the diocesan conference where we were going to debut the pants we’ve been making was canceled. The good news is we have more time to build up an inventory before we begin selling – and to test them out. If you would like to purchase some cute little baby pants – sizes 3 mos, 6 mos, and 9 mos, or men’s boxer shorts – small (32), medium (34), or large-ish (36) – or if you need a visual: Mohameds, Patricks, or Johns – all locally-sewn and made with love from recycled fabric, please let us know. They’re $15 and we would love for you to try them out and give us your input!


CHICKEN COOP – Ta da! It’s done and our little chickens are spending their first full day outside (thank goodness!!). For details, see Kelli’s blog.

DOROTHY’S CAFE ON WEDNESDAY: We’ll probably need some extra help this week with the students gone (ditto for Friday’s Breakfast Brigade), so come and help out if you have a chance. Our numbers have increased since St. Francis House stopped serving all the folks who show up there for lunch each week. Prep is between 9:30 and noon, serving between noon and 5, clean-up at 4:30 til 6pm.

In peace,