501c3, abandoned newborns, charity, Children, Clearwater FL, disabled, donate, friends in need, Funds, Homeless, homelessness, Housing, Jesus, Knoxville TN, Mobile Crisis, Money, nonprofit, Operating Funds, Social Decay, St Petersburg FL, Straight Ahead Outreach, Taking Back Your life, taxi, Taxi driver
7/7/2011 @ 11:15pm – By Lance Greene/Founder
Its gonna be another sleepless night of not being able to shut my mind off. One of those nights i just cannot shake the feeling of uselessness. One of those nights i feel bad for laying down in our warm soft bed, my wife Patty at my side and our dog Tobie at the end of the bed sound asleep. I can hear Patty tossing and turning because she knows i am up. I stop writing and look away from the computer in an effort to “bite my tongue” at the things i would really like to write tonight. Be forewarned, this is not going to be uplifting.
Tonight, a homeless taxi driver now is without a job due to a minor accident. We have been texting back and forth all day. So now he does the only thing he can do. Park behind a store in his car which will be without insurance or license tags in 19 days. Then, he will slip further into homelessness. Here, here in the USA. Yeah, here in the USA. He doesn’t mooch off people or go from org to org getting free stuff and putting on the pity face and story. He tries. He bathes in a 24 hour laundromat at the sink. He doesn’t even get food stamps for crying out loud. We believe in Jesus here at STA. He is an atheist. Doesn’t matter to me. Because Jesus wants him. Period. Plus, he tries. He is a good guy. A “brother type”. Not much family left. We met by no fault of his own when i called a cab to go get a part when our Mobile Crisis van was broke down. He wasn’t asking for anything. He was the driver. I could tell he was homeless so i started asking him questions. He worked and drove that taxi at all hours of the night and since he didn’t have a place to live he just kept driving making himself available at all hours of the night. Barely even making enough money to cover the lease of the taxi day-to-day. I know, because i used to drive for this same taxi company here briefly in 2003 trying to generate some income. Plus in 1982-85 i owned two taxi’s in Minnesota. I know the game. Here in Florida, the taxi game is ugly, very ugly. It disgusts me actually. We can do nothing more for him because we simply do not have the funds. Is he a good investment? Absolutely.
Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc. (STA)- We are a 501c3 Nonprofit. Big freeking deal. What good is it. The 501c3 status, suuuuch a big deal. Uh huh, can’t prove it by me. I am a human. I am angry just as i am sure many other nonprofits are. Hell, Pat and i put almost $9600.00 of her/our only income of approx $36,000 last year into STA just to keep it going.
Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc. We work our tails off for our Friends In Need. What does it do for you, the General Public? It makes your streets safer and your communities better. It Fights Social Decay. Why? Because for the most part we work with people who are looking towards Taking Back Their Life, even if they don’t know it 100% yet. Most of the time we work with the toughest cases. But, they are driven to us and us to them. We work close with them one on one. We do not just drive around giving handouts. Sure we have though and do so on a very limited basis when we see someone in dire need, visibly and physically.
STA consists of myself, Lance Greene and my wife Pat Mishler here in Florida, thats it… and two very part-time volunteers in Knoxville, TN. Thats it. And we do a ton of work. Look at our Services page. We do ALL of it with every person we encounter if possible, when possible. We work our asses off. Period. We make ourselves available 24/7/365.
Why am i upset? Because i am tired of begging for fricking money. Tired of the …..”ohhhh….look at us…. We are a 501c3 nonprofit bull”. It’s a joke. There is a handful of people who care. That simply is not enough compared to the level of work we do and the clients we get and are capable of serving, changing, bettering and showing how to Take Back Their Life. We have over 20 right now who are viable candidates to Taking Back Their Lives. We could have more, but we hold back. We Simply do not have the funds to take them to the next level.
The taxi driver?? He has so much potential. He just needs a boost. We have spent time with him, helped him look for better jobs and printed out the info for him. Treated him to lunch, coached him. We were making some headway and then this, he lost his job due to a minor accident most likely because he was simply too damn tired. We were taking him to the next level, but unfortunately that level is the $$$ level. Always. It always takes money. I do not care what anyone wants to try to tell me……..NO…..words are not enough. “Have a blessed day” is not enough. ”Ohhh hang in there buddy it will get better” is not enough. “Sorry to hear about your situation” is not enough. Giving them a pair of socks, a sandwich, or a pair of shoes is simply not enough.
Biting my tongue just is not working i see. Oh well, it is what it is.
I am not out to change the Taxi drivers “spirituality”. I will leave that to the powers that be. I am out to change his impression of himself, get him healthy (lose weight) and show him it is possible to Take back His Life. BUT, it takes money. Period. Always does. He has no record, no alcohol or drug issues as far as addiction etc. He has a story. One that was actually similar to mine at one time. He gave up 15 years of his life for someone else…..his Mother (mine involved an ex). Then….she passed. And there he was…….with nothing. Devastated.
This taxi driver isn’t the only one. We have more. Over 20 including children and disabled woman in Oak Ridge, TN. We could have more, but we hold back. We cannot get them to the next level because we simply do not have the funds. They are ready, excited to try something new. Sccccrrrrrreeeeeech! Ooops, sorry. No money…….BUT HEY! You have a good day ok? Oh yeah and i hope you sleep well tonight under that bush or in your car or on that concrete slab or in that vacant trailer, house or building! Take care! Bye now! Oh,,,,here is a blanket to keep you warm from the rain! IT FREEKING KILLS ME! IF, i had the funds for STA to do what we need to do you wouldn’t be able to stop us.
Now, he has gotten used to sleeping in a car. Yes, there are many. Yes, they are here in the USA. HERE. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT IN YOUR BACK YARD PEOPLE!
Wake the hell up!
I know there are other countries that need help. There are millionaires and billionaires in those countries too. Make THEM accountable. Lets clean up our mess first.
We/STA, that is myself and Pat, do not live in a $300,000.00 home. We live in a 864 sq ft home in a 55+ community for $600.00 per month. We do not have $100,000.00 in the bank, or $10,000.00 or even $500.00 right now. Our Mobile Crisis Van is on its last leg. I am expecting it to fail any day now as it feels like the tranny is now having issues. Below is our home, we just downsized on June 10th, 2011. We rent. And the Mobile Crisis van. It is our only vehicle, it is our personal vehicle. We just “let” STA use it i guess you could say. When it breaks down for good we will have nothing. Period. What else do you need to see?
But we have drive and concern for those in need. We are completely a nonprofit. 100%. And we do not take a wage. Pat works a regular job full-time plus helps with the STA activities and i do this work full-time plus and take zero wages.
We need funds to operate, to continue the valuable work we do and to continue to further our Friends In Needs efforts which they put in and the trust they put in us.
How much is it worth to you? How much is even 1 persons life worth getting back? How much? How much is even one person taken off the streets of homelessness when they are ready worth to you? What do i mean when they are ready?? Well, simply put. You typically cannot just pull someone who has been on the streets for any length of time over 6 months and expect them to be ready to live properly in an apartment or house and maintain it. Notice i said ..maintain it. They have to be ready. They need follow-up support and training. They need financial assistance, and no not what they get from the government because it simply is not enough and that assistance cripples them. Here is a check, see ya bye, just does not work.
Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc. is my creation. It is my doing. I can keep it going or shut it down. If we are unable to help those we are driven to or that are driven to us because of a lack of funds, then i will “shut her down”. You see, i have done this since 1985 while holding down full-time jobs. Never had to ask for a dime until 2008 after we went public in 2007. Then in 2010, last year we became the ever so beloved 501c3 nonprofit.
Let me tell you General Public. It is NOT the 501c3 status that makes the org. It is the calling in its people.
If we are not able to raise a minimum of $30,000.000 in real money….not counting in kind/tangible items by the end of this year 2011, we will cease operations. I simply do not want to continue this monetary struggle further than that. I do not want to mislead, i want to Lead.
If, i have offended any of you who already know us or have worked with us…. i do feel badly. Might be time for you to tuck and run! But, we work way way to hard, done it far too long and we are far too honest to keep struggling in this manner when we are doing our damnedest to help Fight Social Decay here in the USA. I have never been Politically Correct and really do not ever see that happening in the future.
There are many organizations here in the USA who are really good at what they do, but they are small like us and cash strapped. Many of them are not 501c3 nonprofits. Again, it is not the 501c3 status that makes an org. It is the calling in its people. There are many out there, and they are broke too and they are doing work here, here in your back yard.
Please, do not talk to me and insult me by stating the economy is bad. Really? Well, next time you buy that $200 bottle of scotch, or that $100 cigar, or $2000 purse, or $250,000 car or that $5000 area rug or spend $500 dollars filling the boat up with gasoline or you buy that pair of $800 shoes or you have that 10th $80-$300 meal this month or you pick out your house full of brand new furniture and matching drapes. Please, think of the person sleeping in their car who honestly wants to have a life and just cannot do it on their own, but could with the help of a small org like ours. You, will still be able to have that item you wanted. I am not saying you do not deserve what you yourself have worked for. I am saying there is someone sleeping on concrete in the rain and or snow and or 100 degree heat. Got it?
How about if you just buy one less thing this month and make a Donation to us instead so we can do what we do? Ok? Whats in it for you???? Come on, come with me, i will show you. Literally.
Plain and Simple Fact.
We need to rely on folks like You for funds. Folks like You need to rely on folks like us to do the work.
It is now 2:16am.
What can we do for you in return?
What is it worth to you?