The Year of Giving made AOL’s Top 10 Good News Stories of 2010! Wow! I can’t believe it. Check the link above to read all ten amazing stories!
I was over in Southwest picking up the autographed baseball that the Nats donated for the fundraising auction when I decided to find somebody in the neighborhood to give my $10 to. I first approached a female crossing guard who was braving the cold to make sure the intersection at First and M Streets was safe for school children. Although she said she really liked the idea of the Year of Giving, she politely declined saying that as a city employee she could not accept any money.
I drove south on First Street a few blocks and found Charmaine walking down an ally near First and O Streets. Dressed in sweat suit, covered by a white robe and black leather trench coat, Charmaine was walking west down an empty alley holding a plastic supermarket bag.
The 55-year-old told me that she was originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has a son and a daughter and five grandchildren.
I get Supplemental Security Income in the form of disability. “I suffer from pancreatitis, hepatitis c, high blood pressure and a chronic breathing disorder,” she told me. “I also am battling depression and suicidal tendencies; I have schizoaffective disorder.”
It was about 3pm and I enquired about where she was going since she was still dressed in her robe. “I just ran up to the corner store (I later found out that she went to the Friendly Food Market that didn’t look so friendly) to get me some more beer; you can probably smell it on my breath,” she said admitting that she probably shouldn’t be drinking because of the pancreatitis, but she struggles with alcohol dependency. “I get two Keystones for $1.25,” she told me pointing to the white plastic sack she was clutching in her right hand. I had a feeling she was going to tell me that she was going to use the ten dollars for beer too, but she had another answer. “I’m gonna get me some food, soap and toilet paper; I don’t got no toilet paper to wipe my ass with,” she said showing me her toothless smile.
We were interrupted by a guy who was getting belligerent with us. He had seen my SLR camera and took an unwanted interest in us. I quickly tucked the camera back in my bag and barked back at him to leave us alone. He kept on taunting us for a few minutes and then walked away. “You gotta be careful,” Charmaine admonished, “a young boy was shot and killed just one street over earlier this week.” I got the message loud and clear. I gave Charmaine a quick hug, said goodbye and bee-lined it back to my car and got out of there.