Sunday, December 23, 2012

We Gave the Love Around

Once we got to Loaves and Fishes, I asked if it would be okay if I took Amy around. The staff there are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met, and said of course. 

I first wanted Amy to see Friendship Park. They refer to the homeless people as their guests, and treat them with only respect. I love this, as my guess is they are seen as mostly invisible in the outside world. Friendship Park is a place they created with lockers, places to wash their bikes, pump up their tires, use the restrooms to clean up, and so much more that they best explain here.  

I didn't want to be snapping pictures all around so the above picture is one I got off the internet, so you could see.

The park is really big, with lots of benches and such.

But what I really wanted to show Amy was something that brought me to my knees when we first toured this place. 

They have a Memorial in the back of the park and it's for those amongst the homeless community that pass away. Many are distanced from their family and friends, and they at Loaves and Fishes don't want for them to be forgotten, so they have a Memorial service and then engrave their name in the wall you see below. There wasn't anyone around so I did take a picture this particular day.

This wasn't all of it, but like I said, I didn't want to seem like some tourist...snapping away.

We then went over to the dining room to give them the 100 cookies Panera donated and the bagels donated by Noahs. Again, these are not my pictures, but they are of the Loaves and Fishes dining room and this was exactly what it looked like inside. 

I will never be able to explain how it felt to see people serving those who have nothing to eat. Amy and I are two of the chattiest people I know, and we walked in and out of here and there grateful, and often times in complete silence.

Our next stop was to deliver all of the donations for the kids of The Mustard Seed. It was outrageous! They blew our minds. If you could see what they do year in, and year out, it would make your head spin. They raise enough to provide a Christmas for over 3000 homeless children a year!

It's staggering, but understandable - they said homelessness is up 38% this year : (   

It felt really good to know that we were able to help this year!

I couldn't wait to show Amy Anneke's Haven!! 

This kennel was created as a safe place for their guests to bring their animals while they eat, participate in programs, or go on job interviews, etc. 

I think it's amazing because many of us know the importance of the love of an animal, and we all could use that : ) 

While in Anneke's Haven the animal is cared for and fed. On the second Saturday of the month, vets also donate their time and provide services as well. 

There wasn't anyone around, and the woman working there gave me permission to take pictures to my heart's content. So I did!!

My heart...a puddle.

This is Anneke...beautiful! 






This was by far my favorite picture. Reciprocity wise, I think it speaks volumes!

Never do : )

This one was also hanging in there with this caption...

"This dog doesn't know he's homeless"


And for our last stop, we went to the warehouse and donated the remainder of what was left in our cars.


This delivery day was without a doubt one of the most important, meaningful, and memorable days of my entire life.



  1. I'm so happy to have been a little tiny part of this. It makes my heart happy and my eyes wet.

    Merriest Christmas to you Hodder Family!

    Love you,

  2. This gave me chills! We can all make a difference if we take the time. Thank you for inspiring me to do more! God Bless.

  3. Oh Jen thank you so much for taking on this precious gifts, we might donate but without you and the elf's it would not be possible. It made me cry to see the animals as they just loved being loved! There is a need to help people but animals don't get as much attention so from one animal lover to another woof woof to you!!
    Love to Aviana and your family!
    Julie n Texas

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  5. I am so proud of what you were able to accomplish! You are amazing and did an amazing thing this holiday season! Hugs to you and that little Meeks that inspired it all! Merry Christmas and may 2013 be a happy year for you too!

  6. What an awesome place. I can just feel the love, and I'm sure the people and dogs there could, too. Sorry I'm a couple days late but Merry Christmas!

  7. Wow what an amazing place! Those dogs are beautiful and so clean and well cared for. It really makes me think...especially the last photo. My home was flooded by Sandy but when I have a little extra $, I am going to donate to this place. Thanks for the pics. Best wishes for a happy new year to you amd your family :)

    1. I am so sorry your place was flooded!! I hope it's back in order soon, but I used to work homeowners claims so I have an idea of how long these things take : /

      Anneke's Haven is amazingly fresh and clean! It doesn't even smell like a kennel, that nice. Thank you so much for thinking of them! And also for the well wishes. We wish you well too :o)

  8. Such an amazing gift for so many. I remember the outpouring of love and support for seems like it was yesterday. It is such a beautiful thing that her "elves" are doing for others. xoxo - Jillian