Homeless, Please Help Oil 40"x 30"
A few days ago I saw something that I had never witnessed myself. In the park outside my studio window a
couple dozen people gathered and were waiting for something. The crowd grew to about 60 before a few
people showed up with folding tables and several over stuffed garbage bags. They were giving away free
The volunteers piled the coats onto the tables, of which there were more women's than men's. I suspect it has
more to do with women's expectations of something new every year vs. men's desire to wear something out;
rather than being about a greater desire of either sex to participate in charity.
The crowd claimed their places in line and waited patiently. I was more nervous than they appeared to be
that there were enough coats for everyone. What struck me the most was that the people in line didn't dig
through the piles. As soon as someone found something large enough, they took it. Color and design were
irrelevant. I imagined my Mom and I at a rummage sale trying on a dozen and digging into the bottom of every
pile to find the best. Here more than one man walked away with a woman's coat because it fit and it was
warmer than what he had on. A tweed overcoat could go either way except for a few pleats here and there.
Every person in line was the same. No fighting, no comparison shopping and no lingering to browse. Check
the size, try it on and go.
A man in a wheelchair pointed to a red blanket behind the table. He pulled himself up to fold it, slowly and
meticulously. He was missing half of his left leg and I wondered if he was a veteran.
It was over in an under an hour. It left an impression on me that I don't fully understand, but it will last a