Warm-Ups, the REACH Breakfast Program, runs every day from 8:00-10:00 am. Hosted by Harambee Church, the program is less of a soup kitchen and more akin to a beautifully chaotic coffeeshop for the disenfranchised. Grumpy elders debate politics outside; a few tables of regulars laugh at their usual jokes while a few loaners in the corners look up over their books with mild annoyance. You might find J, the resident barber, giving haircuts or Von talking about his latest photography project.
What you won't find is Rodney. After Warm-Ups is over, he will be cleaning up the tables and stacking the chairs, but for right now, Rodney's in the back, doing the dishes.
He does them every day. A few weeks back, while sleeping outside, he was bit by a spider and his hand swelled up. It hurt, he said, but he was still there the next morning, doing the dishes. Yesterday, he sprained his ankle walking down a hill. Today he was hobbling around the kitchen, doing the dishes.
Somehow, without a car or address, Rodney has managed to be the most reliable person around, and he is always, always, smiling.
If you take out the homelessness, you've probably been to places like Warm-Ups before: the indie coffeeshop where the musicians go. You have the older guys arguing politics; you have the crowds, the loaner, the artist who won't stop talking about his project. At at these places, there's always this guy or gal, this reliable person who you should talk to if you need things done.
Rodney's our guy.