For the third Christmas in a row some friends and I did a little shopping and fulfilled a few wishes for the residents of Reedy Place. It’s an innovative 15-unit apartment building near downtown Greenville. Its residents are former drug addicts and alcoholics. Many have mental disabilities. All have spent years of their lives living on the streets, but thanks to the Upstate Homeless Coalition they now have a place to call home.
I probably heard about Reedy Place through a press release that crossed my desk at WSPA a couple of years back. I just thought it was such a neat idea and I couldn’t get those people out of my mind. That’s how the Reedy Place Christmas tradition began– as a demonstration of support, encouragement and love to these wonderful people. But what it became was a complete blessing to all who spend time with these precious people.
Let me introduce you.This is Cathy. She ripped open her presents with the enthusiasm of a game show contestant. She absolutely loved her new jogging suit.
This is Nathan. He’s new to Reedy Place. He welcomed us by singing a song he wrote. He has a beautiful voice. He loves to cook in his new kitchen. He asked for a coat, food and a CD player.
Glen told us last year he loves to make people smile. This year he invited Tim and I into his apartment to show us a bass that sings “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” He picked it up at a thrift store for $1 and says when he’s down he plays it to make himself smile. He was already wearing his new sweater before we left.
Illya is super sweet. Last year we had never met him and thought Illya was a woman’s name. He was a good sport about it and this year we made sure to get it right. He loved his new shoes and coat.
Johnny also asked for a new coat which he loved.
Larry opened his presents very quietly but when he pulled out a watch everyone screamed and cheered.
You’ve got to love that face! Mr. Massey has been around since Reedy Place opened. He is a joy to see every year. His eyes have been getting bad from cataracts so he asked with a watch with big numbers on it and shoes. He also sang Silent Night to us.
Yvonne told me she wants to be a motivational speaker. She wants to help other people who are struggling with addictions. She got a TV and a silver watch. You would have thought she won the lottery going by her reaction.
This is the whole group– all of the residents along with my friends and I. It was a great day and a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.