Spring Break for the Homeless organized by one who's been there:

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 4 Apr 1999 19:13:06 -0700 (PDT)


FWD  Kansas City Star - April 3, 1999

     EVENT GIVES HOMELESS PEOPLE A SPRING BREAK

     By LYNN FRANEY - The Kansas City Star

As Christians prepared Saturday to celebrate Jesus' resurrection and
promise of new life, homeless people in downtown Kansas City enjoyed some
new life of their own -- even if it was just for a day.

They ate their fill of barbecued meats, hot dogs, chips and doughnuts,
picked what they wanted from piles of clothing, listened to a band play,
and enjoyed the beauty of bright yellow spring flowers.

It was a new life compared with the everyday struggles of living on the
street -- wondering where the next meal or clothing will come from;
worrying about where to stay the night; enduring stares from those with
jobs and homes; and being surrounded by trash and cement.

Hundreds of homeless and poor people filled the tiny Oppenstein Brothers
Memorial Park at 12th and Walnut streets for the annual Spring Break for
the Homeless.

Seeing them smile, chat and relax pleased Richard Tripp, the event's
organizer. Tripp, who once was homeless himself, said the homeless and poor
like to know people care.

"They know about this," he said. "They've been waiting for it. It's their
holiday."

A woman who lives in a low-income apartment building downtown said she
loved the sight of the flowers and trees in the plaza. The food was good
and the change of routine welcome.

"I like to mingle and have a good time," said Melisha, who did not want her
last name used. "I love the music."

Nearer the band, a homeless woman wearing a Kansas State University
sweatshirt, jeans and boots grooved across the plaza to the music.

She nodded along to the verse the band members added to a traditional Holy
Week hymn.

Were you there when God raised him from the dead? they sang. Oh, oh, oh,
oh. Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there
when God raised him from the dead?

END FORWARD

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