Mittens and gloves to warm the homeless and hungry

[From Marcie Lightwood]

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem, where I work as a social worker, traditionally gives gifts to our poor and homeless guests at Christmas time. This year, we have received many beautiful hand-knit scarves and hats from local knitters, but we have no gloves or mittens to give.

I am asking if you could please pick up a pair of gloves or mittens on your next shopping trip and donate them? We need more gloves for MEN than for women; we serve probably 2 women for every 3-4 men at the soup kitchen. We only have a few guests who are children.

Any kind of new glove is fine; some like plain knit gloves or mittens; others want them insulated or waterproof. The homeless folks love mittens, or gloves with the mitten fold-over.

You can bring them to Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 E. Market Street in Bethlehem, drop them at my home, or at the WDIY studio where I will have a box set up. You can call me to arrange pick-up. If you work at a place that can have a collection box on premises, please let me know.

Please feel free to forward this to people who have warm hearts.

We need about 250 pair of gloves, total, and any excess will be kept for guest needs through the winter.

Happy holidays to you, and thank you.

Marcie Lightwood
1334 Club Avenue
Allentown, PA  18109
484-767-2908, mlightwood@hotmail.com


Emergency Shelter Coordinator sought

[From Scott Allen]

I just received this notice from The Bethlehem Hospitality Network which houses the homeless during the cold winter months Dec.-March in parish halls and is an ecumenical response to homeless in the Lehigh Valley.  7+ congregations open their doors each week to house the homeless in the parish halls of their churches. Ecumenical  in nature,  the Network represents Episcopal, Moravian, Lutheran, UCC, Unitarian and Independant congregations.   A coordinator is needed to help facilitate this effort.  Through generous grants from the Bethlehem Area Moravians and The New Hope Campaign we have the funds to hire a part time coordinator for this sheltering season. The Ministry Description is posted below with application procedures.  Please let anyone in your congregations know of this part-time employment opportunity.
 
Thanks,
 
Scott Allen
St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem
 
 
General Job Description: Under the direction of the Steering Committee for the Emergency Shelter, the Emergency Shelter Coordinator is responsible for facilitating the overall daily functioning and communication of the program. 

Major Job Duties:
•Coordinate resources across sites, i.e., sleeping bags, etc.
•Create a list of facilities, locations, times facilities open and close doors
•Help Site Coordinators manage volunteers
•Become a familiar presence at each site
•Communication
•Facilitate communications between sites
    •All information pertaining to the Emergency Shelter program   •Issues regarding shelter guests   •Communicate issues of program suitability with shelter guests   •Enforce decisions made by steering committee   •Keep a log of issues from each site   •Coordinate facilities during snow emergencies   •Attend monthly mandatory shelter staff meetings and communicate with the Steering Committee about the activities and needs of the shelters
•Oversee working committees
•Create list of emergency contacts
•If necessary, coordinate transportation of clients to sites

Qualifications:
•Knowledge of issues relating to homelessness
•Prefer 2 years experience in social services, with preference given to volunteer management experience
•Excellent written & oral communication skills
•Ability to make quick, difficult decisions
•Ability to multi-task
•Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
•Positive attitude, compassionate
•Ability to both take direction and to work autonomously when necessary
•The ability to respond to requests for information via phone, mail, and e-mail
•Ability and willingness to work as a team member and support the mission and goals of the Emergency Shelter Steering Committee
•Must be at least 21 years of age

Other: Work out of home.  Cell phone and travel expenses included in salary.  This position requires the candidate to file a 1099 and pay your own taxes.

Hours: 20-30 hours per week, beginning December 1, 2010 and lasting through April 7, 2011. Hours will be flexible based on needs of volunteers.

Compensation: Contracted Hourly Rate $25/hour

If this job is of interest to you, please email your resume to Terri Boyd @ TBoyd4@its.jnj.com


Trinity Easton receives $25,000 UTO grant

For Ark Soup Kitchen ministry

Trinity Easton receives $25,000 UTO grant

Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton was awarded a grant by the United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church for kitchen equipment to support the parish’s weekly Ark Soup Kitchen and other ministries housed there.

The $25,000 award was announced in a letter to the Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem, on May 19, 2010 is to be used between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.

"I am happy to see Trinity's ministry recognized at the national level.” Bishop Paul said. “The grant is both a material support to the parish, and also an enormous encouragement to all who labor to make our churches effective witnesses of God's love."

The United Thank Offering is known to many Episcopalians through the famous “blue-boxes” into which people put in loose change as offering for anything about which we are thankful. Trinity, Easton has supported the work of the United Thank Offering since its inception and the UTO is now one of Trinity’s “Mission of the Month” offerings.

Continue reading "Trinity Easton receives $25,000 UTO grant" »


Free Refresh/Retreat Day for Charity Knitters and Crocheters

[From Mother Laura Howell]

Greetings, all you crafty folks!

For quite  a while, some of us have been getting together in a group called "Crafting Your Prayers," where we lovingly and prayerfully
create various sorts of items. Currently, we're involved in a charity knitting and crocheting group at Knitter's Edge in Bethlehem. The St.
Francis Center for Renewal on Bridle Path Rd. in Bethlehem has offered us a quiet day, as a thank you for all that people have been doing for the needy in the community.

That day will be May 24, from 10:00-3:00. In the morning, we will gather to learn a new knitting or crocheting technique (the items will
be made for Turning Point Shelter). After a break for lunch, the afternoon session will have some spiritual/meditative reading and reflection while we work on our handcrafts.

The Retreat Day is free, but I do need to have you register, so we know how many rooms we need. Send a note to lauramh@gmail.com.

The Renewal Center has also offered to make lunch for us at a cost of $10. The chef wants to give us a special lunch (I can tell you that
when he says special, he means it!), but we need to let him know numbers in advance so he can order food. If you would like to attend
the day and share lunch, please let me know no later than Sunday, May 16. Later than that, check with me.

Hope to see some of you there.

Thank you to all of you who have made chemo caps, caps for the homeless, baby blankets, hats and scarves for seafarers, and so many
other things that bring comfort into difficult lives.

Peace,

Laura

(The Rev.) Laura Thomas Howell, Obl.S.B.
lauramh@gmail.com
Trinity Episcopal Church
http://trinitybeth.org

“We have what we seek. We don’t have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us.”
T. Merton

Rebuilt home in New Orleans

From: Calvin Adams <frcalvin@aol.com>
Date: April 7, 2010 3:54:54 PM EDT
To: Kimberly ROWLES <kimberly.rowles@gmail.com>, Kimberly ROWLES <youth@stgabriels.us>
Subject: Fwd: Davallier Home in New Orleans

Begin forwarded message:

From: EDOLA Rebuild <rebuild@edola.org>
Date: April 7, 2010 11:42:08 AM EDT
To: EDOLA Rebuild <edolarebuild@gmail.com>
Subject: Davallier Home in New Orleans

Hello All!

Greetings from New Orleans!  We are writing to inform you that the Davallier home in Gentilly has been finished.  We have had this house in the works since way back in 2008, and we first started gutting in March 2009.  Since then, we have put in hundreds of volunteer hours to restore this beautiful home for the Davallier family.  They will soon be packing up and moving in from Little Rock, Arkansas and arriving later this week, and they are incredibly excited to see the finished product.  Pictures of the home in various phases of the rebuild process are available here:  http://picasaweb.google.com/edolarebuild/MsDavallierSHouse#.

We are incredibly grateful to all of your for the help you have thus far provided, but we can still always use more help!  We are still trying to work out the logistics of getting their belongings back to New Orleans from Little Rock, which is a rather pricey prospect, and we could certainly use a little extra financial assistance to help us get them back.  Also, we are always in need of donations to help us fund the rebuilding process for our current homes.  If you would be willing to help us out with monetary or material donations, please e-mail Liz Carrier at lcarrier@edola.org.  Remember, every little bit counts, and we graciously accept donations of all sizes.  

We sincerely and whole-heartedly thank all of the volunteer groups and individuals who volunteered their time, patience, energy, and knowledge to help make this incredible work possible, including:

Western Michigan University
St. Luke’s Atlanta
St. Peter by the Lake, Denver, NC
Chris Griffin and Ryan Lawlor
St. Michael’s, Milton, MA
Building the Beloved Community Seminarian Course
Slippery Rock University
St. John’s Lafayette Square
Diocese of Southwest Virginia
James Madison University Ultimate Frisbee Team
Sandy Sullivan
Diocese of Western Michigan
St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, WA
St. John’s Hampton, VA
St. Paul's Delray Beach, FL
All Saints Chicago
James Durcin
Zanny Carlson
Diocese of Bethlehem
Our Savior Elmhurst, IL
St John’s, Tampa, FL
St John's, Lynchburg, VA
University of Oklahoma
Grinnell College students and alumni
Teach for America - Greater New Orleans
Kenny Gillis, Julie Sundermann, Jane O’Brien, Dane Niderost, Steph Cox, Spencer Green, Anne Valauri, Van Kenyon, Hannah Sagin, Alice Revenig, Laura Mason-Marshall
Finally, we wish to thank the crew chiefs who took charge of this project: Mary Bess Dubose and Ollie Casson-Gary.  Without their tireless efforts, we never would have been able to get the Davalliers back in their home, and we are all very grateful to them!

We thank you again for your generosity and hope to see each of you back down here in New Orleans in the very near future!

Sincerely,

The Episcopal Community Services Rebuild Team

P.S.  If you were a group leader for your New Orleans trip, please forward this e-mail to any of your group members who may not have been on the recipient list!

Winnie Romeril in Haiti

The image of a picture I did not take stays with me. It’s of a sign embedded in my mind since childhood. I’ve caught sight of it all over the world, and it always makes me smile. That red, white and blue shield with the familiar words, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You. I saw a fragment of it on a shattered wall in Leogane, Haiti. Most of the sign was gone, but it was still recognizable to me. I smiled out of habit; I could have cried.

[Download, from the April issue of Diocesan Life, Haiti for the Long Haul by Winnie Romeril, daughter of Bob and Canon Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril of Bethlehem, who claims "two weeks in Puerto Rico" with a Diocese of Behlehem youth group some years ago, "changed my life."]

Download 100401.pdf


Bethlehem churches' efforts to shelter homeless during winter months commendable

An Express-Times Editorial – Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Temperatures are starting to climb, most snowbanks have melted away and those of us here in the Northeast are beginning to trade our winter coats for light jackets.

Ah, spring! It's a time when we are no longer forced to cope with crippling snowstorms, ice-covered roads or chapped skin.

And it's also the time when the homeless among us aren't quite as vulnerable as they were during the bone-chilling days and nights of winter.

Recently Express-Times reporter Lynn Olanoff took readers inside a church-based effort in Bethlehem that provides shelter for the homeless from January through March.

Continue reading "Bethlehem churches' efforts to shelter homeless during winter months commendable" »


Hearing criticism as applause

Father Dan Gunn, rector of of St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre, wrote the following note today to parishioners and others on his mailing list. It is a model for turning potentially bad news into good or, as he states at the end, hearing criticism as applause.

Dear All,
 
A Blessed Ash Wednesday, to you.
 
I hope you have seen the stories in the local papers the past three days.  Here, here and here.  I think this is good news for us.  The reporters have been balanced and reasonably accurate.  For the record, I went down to Reach this morning and was greeted with a chorus of “Good morning, Father!” and even inquiries of when the Ash Wednesday Services were scheduled.  (Jokingly, I asked them to go out to the street and assault someone so we could be in the paper again on Thursday.  They all declined.)
 
I have spent a great deal of my time in the past few years trying to make certain that Reach is operated in an appropriate manner.  If you read the articles in recent days you will hear a great deal of innuendo and speculations.  In four years I have only found one needle, 3 drug packets (I have them in my desk), and a couple dozen beer cans.  I would love to say that there had been none of these items, but I live in reality.  Downtown Wilkes-Barre is an inner-city, and that comes with all the problems of such a place.
 
For those of you who read the local papers on-line as I do, please scroll to the end of the articles and read the posted comments.  The overwhelming majority of the feedback is POSITIVE toward St. Stephen’s and Reach.  One person even said that we are the one church that “practices what we preach.”  Another said that we are the only church open and active during the week while others are locked and guarded except on Sundays.
 
One of my mentors tells me that this sort of press is good press, and better than any advertisement we could buy.  I tend to agree.  Please if you or any of your neighbors have questions direct them to me.  I will be happy to respond as I am able.
 
It is times like these when I think about our brothers and sisters in Kajo-Keji (maybe because I was there this time last year) and wonder where would our critics want to send them?  They’re uneducated, poorly clothed, poor and black, suffering from years of mistreatment.  Our mission, though at times needing critique, is true and good and right, whether in Downtown Wilkes-Barre or in Africa.  We are truly an International Parish: we need to tell others about our good works.  Just as we welcome Bishop Anthony in a few days, we welcome Kevin whom I met in the basement of Boscov’s today who asked me to bless the cross he was wearing around his neck and say a prayer for him, too.  We are known by our deeds, whether they be acts of charity or music or liturgy.  We are a dynamic church and God bless those who think and say otherwise.
 
Finally, Rabbi Ed Friedman, whom you have heard me speak of often, said that “You know you have reached a new level of maturity when you can hear criticism as affirmation.”  He went on to say that “criticism is an act of pursuit.”  This is true for individuals and parishes.  In the past few days I have heard an abundance of affirmation.  I have also felt pursued.  Can you feel it?  Can you hear it with me?
 
In peace,

Dg

Posted by Bill Lewellis

Area churches to prepare Easter dinners for the needy in Susquehanna County

Bountiful Blessings, representing the communities of faith in Montrose, has announced its annual program to provide a full Easter dinner for those in need in Susquehanna County.

Working with Interfaith and other area agencies, those individuals and families listed with the agencies will be eligible for a dinner basket that includes a 3 or 5-pound ham, vegetables, potatoes/macaroni and cheese, canned fruit, bread and dessert. The baskets will be distributed on Wednesday, March 31. This year there are plans for at least 700 dinner baskets. In order to better serve our neighbors, three distribution sites will be available: St. Paul’s Montrose, St. Mark’s, New Milford, and Christ Church, Forest City.

Continue reading "Area churches to prepare Easter dinners for the needy in Susquehanna County" »


Friday night at St. Andrew's Allentown

[Editor's note: Some ten Bethlehem churches and one synagogue are participating in the second year of an emergency sheltering program, coordinated by Bethlehem’s Trinity Episcopal Church. It began in 2008 when Trinity Soup Kitchen staff discovered that there were no emergency shelter beds for people in Bethlehem during a particularly cold period, and people were in danger of freezing. The story below is a snapshot of Friday night when St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on the Allentown/Bethlehem border opens its doors to the homeless. For context, see an earlier story by David Howell.]

By Scott Allen, Jean Evans and Colleen Kram

Last January, when St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, decided to open their doors to the homeless on Friday nights, we had no idea what we were in for. While it’s a great deal of work and we deal with some difficult personalities who have exhausted the social service networks, we were in for blessings beyond our imaginings. As the priest there, I knew that this is what we are called to be and do by the gospels – but I had no idea of what grace and transformation this ministry would yield.

Recently, I asked one of our parishioners, a retired primary school teacher who is part of our hospitality team, to write a short reflection on her experience that evening (even though she had volunteered many times before). Each time we host is a little different and a snapshot like the one that follows is indicative of a “typical” evening – if there is such a thing – in this sort of hospitality ministry.

Continue reading "Friday night at St. Andrew's Allentown" »


Helping the Homeless in Allentown

New Bethany Ministries, which has attacked the homeless problem in Bethlehem for nearly 25 years, has the final $250,000 it needs to launch its first project in Allentown. At a news conference Monday, community leaders announced the funding that completes a $460,000 plan to turn a former Grace Episcopal Church building at 112 N. Fifth St. into a group home.

[snip, snip, snip]

Renovation of the three-story Allentown building is expected to begin in April and a midsummer opening is anticipated. It is to include the six rooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, three bathrooms and a laundry facility. The top floor will be used for meetings. Grace Episcopal, which sold New Bethany the building for half its value, had used the building for an AIDS outreach program until its funding was cut. The Lehigh County Conference of Churches, which administers programs for the poor, will choose who will live in the group home. The coalition of 140 area churches will provide rent subsidies and social services. Grace Episcopal Church, which is next door to the future group home, will also provide services.

[snip, snip, snip]

New Bethany offers single-occupancy units at other locations: 10 in Bethlehem and 13 in Coplay. It also offers temporary housing in Bethlehem, serves nearly 200 lunches a day and provides other services. New Bethany is also planning a $2 million hospitality center with laundry facilities, showers and affordable housing at the shuttered Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church in south Bethlehem. New Bethany is scheduled to close on the property April 1.

New Bethany Ministries, community operated, is owned by the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Read more.

––posted by Bill Lewellis
from a story in The Morning Call, Feb. 2, 2010

Daughter of Bethlehem couple interviewed in Haiti on MSNBC

On Friday afternoon (Jan. 22), Dylan Ratigan interviewed Winnie Romeril on MSNBC. (Video segment provided by Winnie's husband, David Schenck. You may have to copy and paste http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34983801#34982071 into your browser to view the segment.) Winnie joined the rescue teams in Haiti last Saturday as a field press officer for the American Red Cross and is expected to be there for two or three weeks. She is the daughter of Robert and The Rev. Canon Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril of Bethlehem, and was featured also on Monday on Larry King Live.

Winnie was once a leader in the youth group of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and an active participant in the Puerto Rico/Bethlehem Summer Exchange in 1984.

Find some background here and here.

Lenten Collection for Youth Mission Project

Lenten Collection for Youth Mission Project ...  [From Kim Rowles] Starting on Ash Wednesday the Youth of the Diocese are asking the parishes to begin a collection of personal care items for our Christophany Mission Project. Two years ago we made meals for the "Stop Hunger Now" campaign, last year we learned about Environmentalism and the Episcopal Church, this year we are hoping to help those in need take care of basic hygiene issues. We are asking for collections of the following items: New Handtowels, Washcloths, Nail Clippers (without files or emery boards), Widetooth Combs, Toothbrushes (individually wrapped), Large tubes of toothpaste, bath-sized bars of soap, boxes of sterile bandages, and gallon-sized zip bags. If you cannot purchase these items we will also accept gift cards to Walmart so that we can purchase the items ourselves. We hope to complete 600 kits to distribute to shelters in Bethlehem, Reading and Scranton. We will with your help. The collection will end on April 4, 2010 (Easter Sunday), and the youth council will make arrangements to pick up items, or you can drop them at Diocesan House to be brought to Christophany for assembly. Questions: Kim Rowles, Youth Missioner for the Diocese, online or at 610-751-3931.Download a flyer below.

Download Lenten Project 2010.pdf


Trinity Bethlehem organizes churches to shelter homeless people from the cold

By David Howell

More participating churches and new grants have been welcome news for the dedicated people who provide shelter for the homeless in this unexpectedly severe winter. The emergency sheltering program, coordinated by Bethlehem’s Trinity Episcopal Church, is in its second year. It began in 2008, when Trinity Soup Kitchen staff discovered that there were no emergency shelter beds for people in Bethlehem during a particularly cold period, and people were in danger of freezing. This year, the weather made it necessary to start on December 6 in the Forte Building in the south side of Bethlehem rather than on January 1 of the new decade when churches originally planned to open their doors. The program is scheduled to conclude at the end of March.

Continue reading "Trinity Bethlehem organizes churches to shelter homeless people from the cold" »


Senior Space at St. Luke's Scranton

Senior Space, a program to bring together the downtown seniors from the local high-rise buildings in Scranton for an afternoon of sharing food and fun, began at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in June, 2009.

Held on the second Sunday every other month, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., attendance has been increasing: June (21 Seniors and five volunteers), August (27 Seniors and eight volunters), and October (40 Seniors and five different volunteers from St. Luke's).

At one of the gatherings, an accomplished pianist guest entertained everyone. He promised to return.

With the backing of St. Luke's rector, Father Peter D'Angio, the vestry and 26 parishioners organizing these afternoons, Senior Space coordinators Beverly Hoeffner and Linda Howarth said they are "looking ahead hopefully to expanding this new community service." Responses received in December indicated that some 60 to 70 Seniors and eight new volunteers have signed up for the January 10 event.

SeniorSpace001SeniorSpace002


New Orleans, six months later

By Kim Rowles

Please come back, we hope to see you soon.

It feels like yesterday when we were sitting in the New Orleans airport and I was questioning the youth about what they liked the best about our mission trip,; but it wasn't, it was six months ago. What does it mean to come back soon? In a place like New Orleans where there has been so much trauma, loss and hopelessness, soon isn't the same kind of relative word that we throw around when we sign our Christmas cards. "Merry Christmas, See you Soon!" They continue to need our help, not six months later, but yesterday.

I have been reminded of New Orleans often of late.  The New Orleans Saints had been undefeated until recently and the image of the Super Dome had been splattered across the sports stations and the news. I know that this is their professional sports stadium, but it is also the location where thousands of those who couldn't leave New Orleans weathered Hurricane Katrina. I cannot erase that image from my mind. I presented to Trinity Church in Easton on All Saint's day at their services and their Adult Forum about the Youth Mission Trip, what we did, why we did it, and what is going to happen now, and how the teenagers I know, especially the missioners are saints.

It takes a certain kind of faith, a hopefulness, a faithfulness to be a survivor.  I recently heard an interview on NPR, "Voices in the Family" with Dr Dan Gotleib where he was talking about the resilience of individuals, and how some people "bounce forward"  after a tragic or traumatic experience, while others get caught in the mire of the aftermath. What is happening in New Orleans and has been for the past 4 years? Some people are mired in the destruction and the devestation, and others are trying to encourage progress. Those who have lost hope and are now in despair. Those who are without an education, employment, or adequate housing find themselves giving into the devils of drugs, alcohol and violence.  Those who have found and kept hope alive are working towards a better New Orleans, usually with the support of a strong faith community –– be it the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist or Roman Catholic churches.  The faithful have come into New Orleans and are helping to resurrect New Orleans. Thanks be to God for this!

I got an email before Christmas from Mary Bess –– she was our crew chief from the Episcopal Community Service (a branch of Episcopal Relief and Development). She sent pictures of the house we worked on.  They have finished the floors and the painting and after Christmas they plan on doing the window sills, the baseboards and the finishing touches. How far they have come since we left in August! It's amazing to look at the pictures. But how she signed the email, that she hopes to see us soon, reminded me that, while this house is almost done, there were four more on the block which hadn't been touched.

That in Gentilly there are so many stories like that of the family we worked for, and that with each year the number of people who go in faith to make a difference and rebuild New Orleans becomes fewer and fewer. She signed the email "hope to see you soon." It won't be soon enough. There is still so much to do.

[Kim Rowles is youth ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Bethlehem.]


Outreach at Trinity Athens

[An excerpt from the message of the rector, Mother Trula Hollywood, in the January issue of Trinity Times, the newsletter of Trinity Athens]

Our outreach efforts in the last year have been quite successful. Our clothing, food and toy drives were very helpful to many people in the community. These efforts gave many of us an opportunity to meet people we may not have otherwise. In that sense, the experience was very rewarding. In another sense, the experiences served as an eye opener to the poverty in our area. ...

We have plans in 2010 to offer outreach from our smallness. We are going to use the parish hall for AA meetings and possibly for a support group for woman in crisis. We have also increased our food pantry giving. I hope that we can continue our current efforts at meeting needs in the community into this new year and beyond.

We are on a journey together. Many of us have faced poverty in our own lives. I know from my own experience how much stress is involved when the utility companies are threatening to shut off the heat or it is questionable where the next meal will come from, or whether there will be enough money to pay the medical bills.

Many people are faced with making choices between medical care, food or heat. It is a scary place to be and no one chooses to be there. Circumstances in life bring us to places where survival is the main focus.

[More at www.trinityathens.org]


Making sure homeless children get to school and have school supplies

Russell "Rooster" Valentini is the ''homeless education liaison'' for the Allentown School District and the regional coordinator for the state Department of Education's homeless children's initiative. His daily work (shall we say ministry?) includes making sure homeless children get to school and have school supplies.

[The next three paragraphs are taken from a feature in today's Morning Call.]

As the homeless education liaison, he has an office in Allentown because that is where most of his work is. But as the state's regional coordinator, he also provides technical services to all school districts in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

''Around here, we talk about him as if he's an angel; not to be dramatic,'' [Allentown Salvation Army executive director Dave] Williams said. ''His commitment to the women and children, the vulnerable women and children, is something very hard to find. He sees the women and children as his own.''

Valentini works with about 600 students a year. Last year, 12 percent lived in motels, 46 percent in shelters and the rest with relatives or friends. The worsening economy has not increased his numbers. He has always dealt with families hit by waves of bad luck (layoffs, missed rent payments, no health care) and others who have subsisted on welfare for generations. ''Public assistance is a dream stealer,'' says Valentini, who writes poetry that often centers on his work. ''These children I deal with have never seen anyone with success of work experience.''

Read The Morning Call's feature (Sunday, Jan. 3) about Valentini here.

Early in 2009, I wrote the following on the newSpin blog. Valentini and a parent responded. See their comments below that blog post.

Thanks
Bill

Bill Lewellis, Communication Minister/Editor (1986), Canon Theologian (1998)
Diocese of Bethlehem, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Website, Blog, Email (c)610-216-2726, (w)610-691-5655x229, (h)610-820-7673
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]