On Saturday, Derek’s Place held a taco dinner fundraiser; we had enough food for 150 people to have 3 tacos, beans, rice and chips and salsa. We had about 15 people show up, that’s it, 15 people came to support Derek’s Place. We advertised in every way that I knew how, fb, flyers, the community calendars for both wzzm 13 and wood tv 8, craigslist and word of mouth and only 15 people showed up.
I didn’t want to throw all of that food away so when I realized that nobody was going to come to our event I decided that any leftover food I would take to Heartside Park and feed the homeless. So that’s what I did, I packed up all that food into my car, drove to the park and when I carried the first pan of food over to a picnic table all of these homeless people came over, asked me what I was doing, they helped me carry everything over to the table and waited until everything was set up before they started fixing their plates.
They asked me why I was doing this and so I told them about the fundraiser and how all of this food was leftover and I couldn’t see throwing it away when I knew they were all at the park and were hungry. They asked me what the fundraiser was for so I told them about Derek’s Place, about Derek and how I wanted to help people like him.
They were so appreciative and thanked me so many times, they were all very polite and helpful. They were kind and caring and I enjoyed the time that I spent there talking to them and helping them to fix plates and making sure that everyone got something to eat. It was a very heartwarming experience and I will for sure do it again.
As I was getting ready to leave, one of the men asked me if he could talk to me for a minute and I said yes of course. So we went away from everyone else and he holds out some money and said I took a collection and we want you to have this. I said Sir I can’t take your money, that’s not why I did this! He said we want to help you with Derek’s Place, and we want you to have this. I started crying when I took the money and told him that this donation means more to me than any other donation we’ve gotten.
I couldn’t believe that these people that literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs gave me a donation of $5. That’s a lot of money to them and they gave it with love because they wanted to help me open the doors of Derek’s Place.
These are some of the people that Derek’s Place is going to help, people like Derek, addicts, homeless and people with other mental health issues. Derek was an addict, he was homeless sometimes and he had bipolar disorder and I know that he would have appreciated a free meal when he was hungry. Derek was also a good person, with a great big heart just like the people that I met on Saturday.
Derek’s Place is needed in our community and I don’t know what to do to get our community to understand this and support us. I will not give up on this and one of these days they’ll get it and they’ll support us!
I love you Derek and I miss the hell outta you