I met Dave at the Warm-Up Breakfast a year ago last summer. By that time he had been in the overnight shelter program for over a year. He was on the quiet side but had found a way to serve his fellow homeless folks. He took great pride in making the coffee for breakfast. No matter how early I got there, Dave was there already, making coffee. When we all signed “Thank You” cards to give to the donors of coffee and pastries, Dave signed “coffee man.”
Dave would sit with some of the other clients and volunteers once coffee was made but he didn’t say much. Gradually, he began to participate more in conversations. Some of the men were getting free haircuts and either shaving off or trimming beards and mustaches right before Christmas. Dave piped up to say that he would shave when he got housing. Then one day, after the first of the year he said, “I am getting an apartment!” Talk about excited! Dave couldn’t even eat any of the pancakes and eggs fixed by volunteers that morning because he had an appointment in Seattle to find out more about his housing. He told us he would still come to make coffee but he wouldn’t be able to get there every day. Once he moved he had to take 2 buses to get back to Renton and to be there to make coffee before opening at 8 in the morning was going to be tough.
It took another couple of weeks for everything to fall into place for Dave but the day came when he wasn’t at breakfast. The next time I saw him, I did a double take. That shaggy appearance was gone and now you could see even more clearly his smile that stretched from ear to ear. The community chaplain had helped him get settled into his apartment and she surprised him with his own coffee maker. He was in his own apartment and making his own coffee now. He still comes to Warm-Up Breakfast once in a while and when he does, he makes the coffee. We miss Dave but moving on to a better life is what REACH is all about so we wish him well in this new phase of his life.