This past Saturday, my friend, Ami – who is the Sunday school teacher at her church – asked if I’d go with her to tent city, the homeless encampment in Camden. To help her find out what the residents could use with the money the children in her Sunday school raised. Each quarter, the children collect a “Noisy Offering.” She told me that the children walk up and down the congregation with metal bowls and collect pocket change. And it is up to the children to vote on what charity or “need” they want to give it to. They chose tent city.
After we stopped by the encampment to ask what they wanted to blow their $108 on, we filled up one propane tank, and bought pomade, men’s and women’s underwear, sugar, water, coffee, cooking oil, cigarettes and batteries for them. Ami bought the cigarettes herself, not wanting to spend the children’s donation money on that. I stood in line behind her and bought a Whatchamacallit, since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. While looking at the cooking oil, coffee and sugar in the cart in front of me, it made me think that those items could have been on any list a hundred years ago, timeless necessities.
I decided that this time, on this visit to tent city, I would film a short interview with some of the encampment’s members and share the film with my friends, so they could see what I see when I visit tent city.
This is tent city. These are my questions for the homeless there.
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