Panhandlers Feeling Effects Of Staggering Economy

A great article and video of many of our homeless friends panhandling and the impact of the current downward economic trend. From that article, they interviewed and photographed our good friend Terry, busking on Queen:

Source: citynews.ca – “Huddled in an abandoned store front stoop on Queen West, Terry is playing the guitar with gusto when I approach him.  He isn’t a panhandler, he stresses, and never begs for money.  But he does rely on the generosity of others to get by.  He’s been busking for 12 years and admits he’s noticed a slow down lately.

“It affects everybody, from the guy who’s making the most money to the guy who’s making the least money.  It’s like a trickle down type thing.  If they’re not making as much money they’re not dropping as much money.  People are depressed, angry, you can literally see it, like when it went downhill with the U.S. stocks, you could literally see it.  People look tired, people look fed up, worried, concerned.

Terry and friend...

“There’s no security anymore.  Those people work really hard and they lose it all.  They invest in stocks and think that it’s going to be good, and it ends up falling through.” [end of excerpt]

I also have a great video of Terry and friends busking in the same spot two summers ago. Click here to see the YouTube video. I used to busk with them myself, and jam at the Knox Out-of-the-Cold youth dinner too – The Knox program (founded by Joe at Project417) starts up again next Tuesday to run through the winter: a great home-cooked hot meal, foodbank, clothing, haircuts and dye-jobs, open mic and more – all for street youth 25 (ish) and under. And don’t forget our Wednesday nite Community Dinner, free to all, over at Bloor Lansdowne. If panhandling takes are down, I expect we’ll see more of our friends at those meals. I know we’re not seeing too much of a decrease in our street friends when we go out distribute bag lunches. We have a team out tonite taking sixty meals and I’ll post an update.

There’s quite a few of us here at Project417 who are involved as volunteers in trying to get an alternative to the current “street” newspapers our homeless friends can sell. It should improve the take, and provide a dignified alternative to panhandling. Hopefully, and here’s the tough part, it will be a real community effort, with top down involvement from our street friends. Come back and check out the Mission Log for updates.
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Search for missing teen Brandon Crisp continues

National Post — Police in Barrie continue searching – investigating more than 1,000 leads and tips [end of excerpt]

Our thoughts and prayers are with Brandon’s parents. Project417 works with many youth on the streets of Toronto who have left their homes – under many different circumstances. Hope is that Brandon Crisp will be found safe, close to home.

To see the original National Post story with more links read more…

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Help Find Missing Youth – Brandon Crisp

From thestar.com – It’s been two weeks since Brandon left home after an argument over an online video game. His bike was found about 6 miles from home a few days later along the Rail Trail, an abandoned railway line through Oro-Medonte near Lake Simcoe, ON. Sgt.  Dave Goodbrand said Microsoft has agreed to help police track Brandon’s online gaming partners. [end of excerpt] Can you help? Are you an online gamer or internet friend that had any contact with Brandon preceding his disappearance? Perhaps you can help. Call Barrie Police (705)725-7025. Read more for the Star articles, or visit the simcoe.com site set-up for Brandon Crisp.

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Share the poster with your friends!

Share the poster with your friends!

Hurricane Ike Photos – Texas Disaster Relief – Galveston Cty

The aftermath of Hurricane Ike – most of the photos taken by me volunteering with Project417 and the Salvation Army from Sept. 26th to October 9th, 2008. Location: Texas – Houston, Pasadena, Galveston County, Seabrook, Kemah, Bacliff, San Leon. So many of them remind me of working in the Lower Ninth – New Orleans after Katrina.

Please Volunteer!

See the photos on Facebook – click “read more

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Hurricane Ike Volunteer Relief in San Leon, Galveston County

Project417 Hurricane Ike Relief Update – October 16th, 2008
Hello Project417 supporters. As you know I just returned for a short term mission trip to Texas to help out the survivors of Hurricane Ike in Texas. I was a volunteer with the Houston Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services and served in the Houston Gulf Coast region – Pasadena and San Leon Texas, from Sept. 25th to October 10th.

The damage in coastal Texas is very severe. The devastation and aftermath I witnessed are equal and sometimes worse than the damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The media in the U.S. have had a difficult time getting the news out, being overshadowed by the election and economic meltdown. Notwithstanding, the people of Texas need our help. Especially the town of San Leon, Texas where I served. I also heard from other members of the team stationed in Galveston that the damage is in some cases unimaginable. One Army Corps of Engineers specialist I spoke with compared the damage there as equal to what Katrina visited on Biloxi, Mississippi – the storm surge has wiped the coast clean in many areas, only slab foundations left.


After three days helping at the Salvation Army Incident Command Center in Pasadena, I was assigned to help with three other people from Mississippi and Virginia, on a mobile canteen truck serving hot meals. I served about twelve hundred meals a day to the people of San Leon, who still had no electricity, and in many cases no homes, for a total of 12,000 meals for ten days. Our Pasadena group of five or six canteens served more than six thousand meals a day. There are multiple Incident commands in the Houston area, including Galveston and Louisiana, and the total number of meals served to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike survivors from Salvation Army canteens is more than 1.8 million. This is in addition to Red Cross canteens who also roam the area, as well as numerous church kitchens and independent relief organizations like the Southern Baptists and many others. The church has responded to the call for help.
I’ll certainly be posting more stories of perseverance and survival from the people of Texas. Project417 has decided to change our upcoming mission to New Orleans to focus on the urgent needs of San Leon Texas. Contact us here to join the team. San Leon is a poor town of about five thousand right on the coast. Their main industries – oyster harvesting, shrimp and crab fisheries have been almost wiped out. Their homes, mainly small wood frame “cottages” and trailers have been severely damaged or totally destroyed. Few have insurance and many will have difficulty collecting payments from FEMA.  A large percentage of the population is Vietnamese American and Hispanic. They were a joy to help, especially the children like Victor above and his sister Victoria, whose family of seven were sleeping in their Dad’s old Suburban in the driveway of their flooded out home. They slept in the car and started going to school every day just last week, and still they would come help us serve the meals to the thousands that visited the local disaster relief center established at the San Leon Community Church. I’m going back to help them, won’t you come too?
New photos and stories about Hurricane Ike disaster relief will be posted daily for the next few day, check back often.

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Thousands a day seeking meals from Salvation Army in Galveston County

Galveston County Daily News, Oct. 6, 2008 GALVESTON: Tracy Czajkowski, a captain in the Salvation Army, said she and other volunteers from across the country hope to be the “shock absorbers” for Galveston residents who lost everything during the storm. Relief workers and volunteers, have gone from one disaster zone to another. At each place, workers have been greeted by people clinging to the end of their rope. [ end of excerpt ]

Andy and Karyl on the canteen

Andy and Karyl on the canteen

Over on the mainland in Galveston County, I am serving meals in devastated San Leon, Texas. The Pasadena Command of the Salvation Army is now focusing its mobile canteen service on the southern areas of the coastal area hit by Hurricane Ike. San Leon has had two canteens assigned for a total of over two thousand people served hot meals each day, and each day the food often runs out prompting the Emotional and Spiritual Care teams to call for even more support. The main mobile kitchen in Seabrook, staffed by Southern Baptist volunteers, that cook all the meals for the canteens prepare about 6,500 meals a day. Our canteen travels there twice a day to pick up the food and restock with water, ice, Gator Aid and snacks. It’s expected that mobile kitchen will re-locate south across the causeway into the coastal town of Kemah, more central to our relief efforts now that life is becoming more normalized in Houston County.

Today will be my last day onsite of the trip, but I look forward to returning soon to help the folks in San Leon and Galveston. I’ve given thought to changing the New Orleans short term mission in November to Galveston County and the people of San Leon. They all need help gutting out flood ravaged homes. Many are being bulldozed due to structural damage and will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Thanks for all your support and consider donating to help the poor people who have no homes and little that we all take for granted.
~~~
Andy Coats

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Galveston Seawall Levee- Major Damage Hurricane Ike

From – Houston: KHOU.com – damage estimates for the Galveston levee run into millions. Read more by clicking the link.  More Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief and volunteer updates and photos click the Home tab above.

More San Leon updates and photos soon. Andy is returning this weekend.

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