[Hpn] NAHNN Homeless News: Helping homeless people through the cold, 1 by 1;Boston, MA

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Tue, 28 Jan 2003 23:16:17 -0500

North American Homeless News Network (NAHNN): http://nahnn.blogspot.com
Homeless News & Information

NAHNN Summary of a Tuesday, January 28, 2003 Beacon Hill Times article:

[Boston, Massachusetts]

Extremely cold temperatures kept Mike Banker and his friends from their 
skiing plans over the long Martin Luther King weekend. Growing concerned, 
that if it were much too cold to go skiing, he thought about what it must be 
like and mean for people living homeless out on the streets in the Boston 

Mike Banker started organizing so that he and others could begin "[h]elping 
homeless people through the cold, one by one."

Below is a forward of the Beacon Hill Times article.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com


-------Forwarded article-------

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Beacon Hill Times <http://www.beaconhilltimes.com>
[Boston, Massachusetts]
Helping homeless people through the cold, one by one

by Melissa Foley

--[Photo caption]--

Mike Banker with a copy of the flyer that brought in so many clothing 

--[End of photo caption]--

Mike Banker and his friends wanted to spend the long Martin Luther King 
weekend skiing, but the extreme cold kept them from hitting the slopes.

“I was bummed out,” Banker, the owner of Loook.com, an internet start-up, 
said about the fizzled-out plans, “but then I started thinking that if it 
was too cold for me to go skiing, what’s it going to be like for the 

So instead, the 39-year-old Cambridge resident who used to live on Charles 
Street tried to rally his friends to collect blankets and winter jackets to 
give to homeless people throughout the city. To Banker’s surprise, he was 
met with more than a bit of skepticism about the prospect of organizing such 
a drive, but his friends’ initial lack of enthusiasm didn’t stop him from 
following his gut instinct and doing what he felt was the right thing.

Over a round of drinks at Harvard Gardens on Friday, January 17, Banker 
managed to convince some of his friends, including Steve Rysz of West End 
Place and Karen Kelly of Temple Street, to help him. Banker began by going 
to Sears and buying 19 fleece blankets that were on sale for $7 and handing 
them out to homeless people that weekend.

Seeing the happy expressions on people’s faces when he gave them the 
blankets only inspired Banker to step up his efforts. Shortly thereafter, 
500 flyers spelling out last week’s frigid extended forecast turned up on 
Beacon Hill doorsteps, asking residents to donate blankets or jackets on 
Monday, January 20. He provided his cell phone number and he and his friends 
picked up gear from anyone who called with a donation.

Armed with 58 winter jackets, 20 blankets, 26 fleeces, some sweatshirts and 
sweaters, mittens, gloves and hats and about 15 pairs of ski pants, Banker 
headed to the Pine Street Inn, hoping the staff there would have a ready 
mechanism to distribute the clothing, but the shelter requires that all 
donations be dry cleaned before they can be accepted. Banker figured that by 
the time he could manage to get them cleaned, the cold snap would be over, 
so he took matters into his own hands and hit the road that night around 11 
p.m., driving to spots where he thought he might find homeless people in 
need of warmth.

“We ended up behind the Public Library at the grates where hot air blows 
out, and it was like the gold mine. There must have been 40 people there,” 
said Banker. He and Kelly and Rysz stayed for about an hour, outfitting 
everybody and socializing. “Everyone was praising us and it was really, 
really great,” he said.

They drove around handing out the remaining items until 3 a.m., and the next 
night made another excursion to distribute extra donations Hill residents 
made on Tuesday.

Banker, who is modest about his efforts, is nonetheless glad that he pursued 
the project, and so are his friends. “Even though my friends said at first 
that I’d get sued and people wouldn’t trust me or give me stuff, you just 
can’t listen to anyone who’s negative.”


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**


-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

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