My biggest fear? Becoming a “bag lady.” (That’s what we called homeless women in the 1960s where I grew up.)

As a kid, I was terrified of becoming one of those destitute people pushing a grocery cart full of bundles and bags down the street.

Sometimes we attract that which we fear the most.
A couple of years ago, it happened. I was fortunate: Instead of pushing a grocery cart, I rode a bicycle. Instead of plastic bags, I carried backpacks.

Once upon a time …
I was a productive member of the community — a homeowner in a long-term relationship, nurturing a butterfly garden in the front yard and a community sandbox in the back. I worked as a freelance graphic designer and rescued animals.

All of a sudden:
I found myself halfway across the country, sleeping outside on a cold metal picnic table with fifty cents to my name. The table I chose as a bed happened to be outside FoCo Cafe. I shivered as I slept. The early-morning sunrise started to glow.

Steven arrived to open the cafe. I had planned to disappear before anyone could see me, but I was too cold to wake up in time.

So I awoke to Steven’s gentle voice welcoming me in for a fresh cup of coffee. He didn’t shoo me away as if I was a feral cat. He didn’t call the cops. He didn’t ignore me, and he didn’t charge a dime for the most nourishing cuppa ever brewed. He treated me with compassion and respect as if I was a likable human being.

And it was warm inside. Jeff was humming away in the kitchen, music was playing, and it was warm. It was warm. It was warm.

They gave me food. I ate. Steven insisted on giving me his own breakfast that day: enough for extra to provide sustenance later.

Now it’s time to give back.

Mallory has invited me to contribute to the blog, which will be kind of a hyperlocal online gathering place. We’ll post a newsfeed sharing updates on all the amazing work people are doing in this community, along with more in-depth reports of specific issues.

We hope this will blog will be another good place for us to connect and provide mutual support.


~ Liz