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Our mission is to warm those in need through knitting, crocheting, looming and quilting. Our NEW hand made items provide hope to those living outdoors and those in temporary shelters. We provide for Men, Women, and Children in Central Ohio all year long. Specific details available by clicking item specific tabs, or the Who we Help Tab. If you have further questions, please contact me via the contact form. ALL DONATIONS MUST INCLUDE A NOTE WITH AN EMAIL ADDRESS.



Goal: 36
Start: #29
Current: 30

Sunday, April 19, 2015

John Helinski, Homeless in Tampa

While Sunday is a day outside the April A-Z challenge, I've continued to post on Sunday.  Meet John Helinsky, age 62 homeless in Tampa, Florida. Living on the street, sleeping in a cardboard box when he could find one, on a park bench when he couldn't.  For 3 years John lived that way in downtown Tampa, being as invisible as he could.  Like many homeless, he had no ID, his SS card had been stolen.
Dan McDonald, unlike many police chose to help not harass John.  He couldn't bear to see this senior citizen living homeless on the streets and got him checked into a homeless shelter.

 Where Charles Inman, caseworker applied added his help.  One of the problems facing homeless without ID's is actually getting them ID's.  You need birth certificates to get other ID's, and that can be quite as chore.  Add to this the fact that John Helinski was born in Poland, a US citizen and you have extra paper work that needs to be done.  International phone calls were needed to track down a record of his birth, then drivers license and social security cards were obtained.
One he had proper ID's, more digging took place.  He remembered having a bank account, but the bank had changed names.  Through extra effort from both the police and the caseworker the bank was found and John had a nest egg, his social security had been deposited and had earned him some interest during those 3 years living on the street.  He's pictured here near his locker and bunk at the shelter where he's still working with his case worker, preparing to transition into living in an apartment.  Even with money, living in a permanent housing situation takes some adjustment.  We don't know what caused John to become homeless, or how much he has in his account; but the stories say enough that he can live modestly in an apartment, or perhaps even purchase a home, if he chooses that route.

This story broke on both CNN and ABC, perhaps elsewhere, both those are the 2 sources I found.  Thank you RoseMary from Tenn for letting me know you'd read a story on bing about a man in Tampa.  This is definitely a story worth retelling.

I wish we had more stories like this with happy endings.

Below is the Sunday wrap of the A-Z challenges to date.  If you've not read them, please do.  Reading and sharing the information is helpful, even if you can't join us with knitting and crocheting.

A=Afghans, Family Heirlooms
B= Bridge and Beyond, Behind the Scenes
C=What is Crochet
E=Exposure Kills Homeless Vet
F= Crying and Homeless and Freezing Temperature
G= Gubbio, A Homeless Project, St. Boniface Church
H=Hobo and Homelessness
I= Inspiration
J= What is Joy
L=Knitting Looms
M=Mittens, Knitted, Crocheted or Loomed
N=Caring for the Needy
O=Jack Otis, Classmate, Homeless
P=Policing the Homeless

All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated. The Power of One is awesome, and when we work together The Power of One becomes The Power of Many.


  1. God Bless Dan and Charles for helping John. Wouldn't it be nice if all stories could end like this?
    Thank you for sharing his story.

    1. Yes it would Bunny, but 99 out of 100 don't. And so we continue to do what we can, when and where we can.

  2. Sandy, this is the same story I told you about this morning. Im glad you were able to find it Rosemarie.

    1. Was just getting ready to send you the link, so you would know I found the one you were talking about.

  3. It is good to see a success story like this!!

    (To answer your question, Prescott is 2 hours north of Phoenix, and it definitely up here is pronounced Preskitt :)


    1. Thanks Betty, next time we head to AZ I'll sing out or wave to you as we fly over, lol.

  4. Hope all the best to John. Glad he had some people who cared for him and did all that paperwork.
    Sorry I haven't posted in the last few days, but a good friend has been in the ICU. I have to go back and get caught up on the last few days.

    1. Oh Sue, am so sorry to hear about your friend in ICU, please keep me posted and I'll add her to my prayers.

  5. What a feel good story! I only hope that John can transition into regular housing well. I hear so often that it is incredibly difficult to make that change after years on the streets. Thanks for sharing this hopeful story, Sandy :)

    1. It is indeed very difficult for homeless to transistion. They need assistance and montoring to make the break they receive work. Sadly it often doesn't the first time.

  6. John's story is incredible. Without intervention he could still be living on the streets without ID or funds. I do wonder what happened. I hope there is family somewhere who can lend their support. Health care too is probably needed. It's a disgrace what's happened to our mentally ill in this country. Thanks for sharing!
    Inventions by Women A-Z

    1. Yes it is a disgrace what's happening to our mentally ill and they are a significant junk of our homeless population. I hope there is family too, though sometimes family don't want anything to do with their family members they deem to not be successful etc. I hope at some point to find some follow up on John.

  7. What a great story. It just goes to emphasize the point you've been making about the power of one (or two in this case)!

    1. Bingo Tamara...that's it exactly The Power of One! And sometimes One has a friend who has a friend then pretty soon you have a team.

  8. What a great story. It just goes to emphasize the point you've been making about the power of one (or two in this case)!

  9. I love this story! I, too, wish so many more stories had happier endings. Bless that officer for getting the ball rolling, and the caseworker for keeping it rolling.

    1. I know, I've posted so many sad things...which are very very real, it felt good o share a success story, or at least something that has the potential to be a success story.

  10. This is a very nice story with a happy ending. I wish more could be that way. Sherry K

    1. I couldn't agree more with you Sherry. Thanks so much for the visits and comments.

  11. Such stories with happy endings go a log way in restoring our faith in humanity.


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