Find It In Your Heart To Donate to Hope of the Valley
by Adventurer Shashi Harrie
Video by Paulie Hunt
Photos by Julie Webster
Shashi’s Latest and Famous Backpack
Our dear friend Shashi was just about to leave for another travel adventure. She had been globe-trotting for over 20 years, living simply and mostly out of her back pack and a rolly suitcase. She has been almost everywhere, including Tibet and Latin America. This trip was to go back to India, seeking wisdom at her favorite Ashram.
Before she left we persuaded her to meet at a friend’s apartment and go through her entire backpack kit. Over the years she had refined the things she carried to get the lightest items, but also the strongest and long lasting items. I know that one of her favorite places was REI in Santa Monica for excellent camping gear. She agreed to share her experience and go through the items that she has found to be a necessity for extended travel and adventure. She caries a water filter, a rice cooker, and a device to grind nuts and seeds, because she will be eating mostly things she prepares and finds in even small villages, including rice, beans and fresh veggies.. Being on the road can be expensive if you travel like a rich tourist and stay in hotels and have all meals in restaurants. Shashi prefers to be on foot or bus and find a really cheap place to stay or camp and cook her own food. This savings allows her to travel constantly on a very small fixed income. She also works a little along the way, or trades services with businesses. She has fixed computers, done bookkeeping, is a licensed acupuncturist, a trained karate security guard, and many other talents.
Please enjoy the video below and following that some photos we took of her equipment. Notice that to keep organized, things are kept in cloth or vinyl waterproof bags and little pouches. For instance, the first aid kit is in one bag, toiletries in another, food prep stuff in another. That keeps everything organized in her backpack.
Note: The video below is only 16 minutes. We will upload the entire 50 minute version soon.
Shashi Harri (L) and Julie Webster
Big Fun Videographer Paulie with Shashi Harri
I am very sad to say that our dear friend passed away on her last trip in early 2019, due to being caught in a dreadful storm and getting pneumonia. We will certainly miss her calm disposition and great knowledge. This is her last gift to those who live out of their backpacks, by choice or by chance and hard times. She was so happy to share this information with everyone at gypsycool. Rest In Peace dear Shashi Harrie.
Every Friday 6:30-8 pm the New Friends puts on a dinner for homeless and disadvantaged folks at the United Methodist Church, 5650 Shoup Ave., Woodland Hills. Phone (818) 346-1617 for more information.
I volunteered today at feed the homeless in Encino. It is a very impressive place.
Every tues night 6:30 to 8:00pm and every sunday late afternoon 3:00pm to 4:pm
anyone in need is welcome for a free hot meal and dessert
Location St Nicholas Episcopal Church – fellowship hall, 17114 ventura blvd, encino, ca 91316
The meals are served as a sit down dinner with entertainment. The people are served like they were eating at a restaurant.
Los Angeles Word Camp 2018 send a gift of brand new Word Press T-Shirts in various sizes to the great folks at the West Hollywood Food Coalition, which operates out of the Salvation Army kitchen on Hollywood Boulevard. The volunteers and homeless folks were thrilled to get new colorful shirts. The Coalition feeds 100 to 200 folks each week night.
How did this come about? Uncle Paulie, webmaster of GypsyCool.com and his partner Julie Webster went to Word Camp 2018 to learn some of the latest improvements in the world of Word Press. This took place on the campus of Cal State College in East L.A. on September 22-23, 2018. When the event was over Julie spotted a box of brand new T-Shirts that weren’t given out to the attendees, so she asked the organizers of the event tor the shirts to give to our friends at the West Hollywood Food Coalition and the Salvation Army in Hollywood. Uncle Paulie collects food from local markets and delivers to the Coalition to help feed those in need of a good hot meal. “We can’t do enough to help the great folks there,” he said. “They are working every day of the week to prepare good meals for those who need it, it’s on the scale of feeding an Army Company.”
The good people of Word Camp where more than happy to oblige Julie’s request and you can see by some of the smiling folks in the photo, it was a happy moment.
For the last 5 years Gypsy Cool’s Uncle Paulie has been taking van loads of food to the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition operating out of the Salvation Army Kitchen in Hollywood. They feed up to 200 people every night Monday through Friday. On weekends they are back at the corner of Romain and Sycamore in Hollywood around 5pm serving dinner.. Paulie makes the long trek from the West Valley at least once a week to deliver much-needed food to Hollywood’s Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition at the Salvation Army. “Being retired I love helping to feed people who are hungry and need food. We also distribute food directly almost every night of the week, and help many other groups grappling with the suffering of seniors, homeless folks, students, and other poor folks who need some extra help and love,” said Paulie. The volunteer delivery crew, including Uncle Paulie, Bob, Wendy, Chuck, Chris, Julie, Judith, John, Judy, Kathleen and others, are all from the charity Earth Harmony Foundation.
Volunteers sort through the donations from Trader Joe’s Market in Sherman Oaks. Chef Joe will use this food with other donations and some purchased food to make enough meals to feed 100 to 200 folks per night. A great crew of volunteers help to sort, prepare, cook, and serve the meals. Help is always needed, show up in the afternoon to the Salvation Army on Hollywood Blvd. (near Gower). For more information, call Sheri at 213-703-9513.
In the crazy history of New York City, this story is one that stands out: it proves that politicians have no class and are only interested in their own greed. It started in 1975, with Adam and his wife Eve were living in a run down Lower East Side apartment. Purple was the Superintendent of the old buildinng he was in, and the owner soon disappeared, leaving Adam and others as “squatters”. Purple saw that a space had been created behind his building when another building was demolished, and he decided to create a garden to grow food for the neighborhood.
Purple planted the garden as concentric circles, with a yin/yang in the center. This configuration allowed the garden to grow as more buildings were razed in a frenzy of so-called Urban Renewal. The garden grew and grew, with over 40 trees and many kinds of vegatables. It soon became famous as thousands of folks visited the garden, many getting much needed food.
From Wikipedia: The process of clearing the lot took some time since the couple would only use hand tools. Modern machinery was considered “counter-revolutionary.” He would haul manure from the horse-drawn carriages around Central Park and created a highly fertile topsoil. The garden was ready to be planted in the spring of 1975. The garden was designed around concentric circles with a yin-yang symbol in the center. As buildings were torn down on either side, Purple would add new rings to the garden, allowing it to grow. By the end, it was 15,000 square feet featuring a wide range of produce, including corn, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, black raspberries, strawberries, and 45 trees including eight black walnuts. He regularly bicycled to Central Park to collect horse manure to use as fertilizer.
For about 10 years the garden was a tourist spot and also attracted volunteers to help grow food for poor folks, The City had other ideas, however, and wanted the land for development. They refused to include the garden in their plans, and on January 6, 1985 tore it down.
Things have actually gotten worse since then. Although there has been a huge increase in the homeless population, the various States, Counties, and Cities across the land have tried to criminalize folks for being homeless. We have seen the brutality of this all around us. A barber in Ohio arrested for giving haircuts to homeless folks for free in a park, Food Banks and church groups being threatened with arrest for feeding the poor, the gestapo-like raids in San Diego recently, called “Encampment Sweeps”, where police seal off the streets where homeless folks are sleeping and then bring in garbage trucks and take all the belongings, tents, food and bicycles from the poor souls and throw them into the waiting refuse trucks to be hauled to the dump. They take the backpacks and personal items containing ID and medications, anything they can get their hands on, to throw away. We’ve seen this before in old film footage from the 1930s and 1940s of the Nazi Stormtroopers descending on Jewish areas in Germany. I guess San Diego is a time-traveled sister city to the Berlin, or Warsaw of the last century. Maybe the final solution will be coming for the homeless, just like the Jews, forced Labor Camps and then extermination. Don’t think it can’t happen. In Columbia, as reported here earlier, homeless were rounded up and sent out of town into a concentration camp to live, with police guarding the road so they couldn’t sneak back into town. We are only a few steps away from the activities in the Third Reich.
Purple died on September 14, 2015, from a heart attack, aged 84, while bicycling across the Williamsburg Bridge. His Garden of Eden had died some thirty years before. But he showed us that big things can be accomplished, a little at time. Getting land in or near big cities is not easy these days, so we have to look for alternative situations.
There’s a lot of really great stuff about Adam Purple, a world-travelling philosopher, trying to stop nuclear war, seeking truth, trying to get his book published, and starting the Garden of Eden in New York. Check out the links and video about him:
Check out this wonderful story, Adam Purple and his Guerilla Garden of Eden by Derick Dirmaier at the website Narritive.ly
Wonderful illustration of Adam Purple by artist Sam von Mayrhauser on the same website.
by Uncle Paulie
The above chart, for the year 2013 (at least 4 years ago) shows the number of homeless kids in Public Schools state wide. This would include presumably all grades up through 12. The total of 64,218 would be at least a few percentage points higher today if current trends are applied.
The situation with the California State University system is not much better. Their current report says that out of 470,000 students in the system, around 12% are in “unstable housing”, the politically correct term that is generally thought of as “homeless”. So by their own very rough count, 56,400 students in the system are homeless.
Even more shocking, if possible, is that about 112,800 students suffer from “food insecurity”, meaning in plain English that they are not getting enough to eat and some are actually starving at times.
What Needs To Be Done
Waiting for some future minor student housing is out of the question. Action needs to be taken now.
Here’s a few great programs for seniors in the L.A. area. Similar programs may be available Statewide.
1. TRANSPORTATION Check out Metro, which operates the buses and trains, including the subway system. If you want to get around the area without driving your car or RV, you can apply online for a senior tap card. You can do this online. www.metro.net. A senior tap card will get you rides for 75 cents Peak hours, and only 35 cents Off Peak. This includes a free transfer to another bus or train within 2 hours, meaning you can scoot a long way around the city for 35 cents Off Peak. There are many other programs for seniors, special passes, etc., including some available at senior centers in cities other than Los Angeles. Santa Monica, for example, has a fantastic bus system, The Big Blue Bus.
2. HEALTH If you are on Medicare and need a supplemental plan, try SCAN. It’s free. Along with it you get a free Silver Sneaker Fitness card. This is good at thousands of gyms across the country, including exercise equipment, pool, steam/sauna (when available). You can go to many different gyms, so that means that you will have access to showers as well as fitness. One of the problems living stealth in a vehicle or living in an RV is shower and clean-up. Although there are shower programs in some cities and facilities, this is a great solution for seniors.
3. FOOD When you are living in a vehicle or RV, food becomes an issue. RVs usually have good cooking facilities, but if you are in a car or van it is a little harder. Small camp type stoves are good, but you need to be in a sheltered area to use it, away from prying eyes of residents who will call the cops if they see anyone using a cook stove on the street. Some people go to a park where there are camping or BBQ pits. The big parks in L.A. like Griffith Park have campsites where you can cook dinner.
Another way to go is to eat hot meals for free at Churches and other Food Coalition sites, like those we frequently post on this website. Please note that there are hundreds of free hot meals served in So. California every day. Check around the area you are staying in, the local city, the local churches, and look for food banks. The County, through Senior Centers, have hot lunch programs for a couple of bucks. These are decent meals, and are served around the County at designated park buildings and Senior Centers. The Senior Centers in some cities are really great, with free computers to use, free wi-fi, exercise programs, libraries, good bathrooms, etc. They have all kinds of free or cheap programs so check them out.
Even if you are living in a vehicle, a senior can have a great time in Southern California. Although many of us do not have large Social Security checks, if you don’t have to pay rent or utilities then you can have enough money to get by on using the strategies like those listed above.
Send any information you get or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org