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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Thursday, December 23, 2004

A Wealth of Christian Charity

A man, who should know quite a bit about charity, once said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I think the good Reverand Robinson should talk to this man about how his N.C. Homeless Shelter Evicts Pregnant Woman, Three Sons, on December 23, 2004.
The director of a homeless shelter says he was right to evict a 21-year-old pregnant woman and her three children after the woman violated one of the shelter's rules by allowing her children's uncle to visit in her room.

"We have to have order," said the Rev. Oliver S. Robinson, director of the Tabernacle of Faith Church Outreach Center. "She herself created this situation. She is a young woman who does not want to listen to anybody. And it don't matter what time of year it is, winter time, Christmas time, cold time or whatever."

Valan Garland and her three boys were evicted Tuesday from the shelter, where they had stayed for about four months while waiting for an income-based apartment to open. She paid $50 a month as a donation.

On Tuesday, however, she broke one of the shelter's strict rules, Garland said. The paternal aunt and uncle of her three children came to visit their nephews. When the shelter's caretaker, Rhonda O'Neal, returned, Garland says she realized there was a man in her room.

Garland said she asked the couple to continue their visit outside, which they did. But Robinson told Garland she had to leave, giving until 9 a.m. Wednesday to vacate.

"These are not the easiest people to deal with," Robinson said of shelter clients. "We have to have rules and order."

Garland, eight months pregnant, began crying as she strapped her children into their car seats after loading the trunk of her car with belongings. She then left with Xavier, 1, Javonte, 3, and T'Keel, 5, still in their bedclothes.

At least until Christmas, the family plans to stay with Garland's mother in a one-room apartment in Edenton.

The two-story shelter has been a soup kitchen since 1996. In 1998 also became a shelter for women and children. The approximately 2,000-square-foot building has 10 beds in two apartments and a loft.

Garland sees no parallels between her situation and that of the biblical Mary and Joseph, who couldn't find any place to stay for the night on what's considered the first Christmas Eve.

"I don't know if I feel like this is related to Jesus and Mary," Garland said. "But I do feel like it has something to do with the devil. The devil has to put it in your heart to put children out in the night three days before Christmas."

Robinson said his shelter is a credit to the community.

"These people need tough love," Robinson said. "I don't feel comfortable with it. God don't get no pleasure punishing us. But he does it. Jesus would have done the same thing."

So if the good Reverend Robinson won't listen to the man above maybe he could at least talk to Ole Anthony.
... There are some three hundred thousand churches in the United States and, on any given night, some six hundred thousand homeless people. If every church could adopt just one or two of the homeless, he says, a seemingly intractable problem might be solved.

(Thanks to 100 monkeys typing for introducing Ole Anthony)