Tagged: goals

Anthony & Me 2015 and News Report Featuring Anthony

Happy New Year! Time seems to go by so fast. I realized it had been an embarrassingly  long time since I have updated the blog – not because Anthony & Me are not still meeting and working on things, but I just have been busy with other projects.

It is hypothermic here today, starting out at a painful 8 degrees this morning. I gave Anthony a call to make sure he was ok. “I ain’t going out in all that today,” he assured me. That’s probably wise. He ventured out yesterday though which wasn’t much better.

2015 is starting off pretty good for Anthony – check out this beautiful news story that was done about him and his journey to get housing. It ran today on the ABC Family Channel. Thanks to reporter John Jessup and videographer Denis Pacuraru of CBN News who did a terrific job with the story!

Looking back, 2014 was a decent year – a great year for Anthony. He celebrated one year of housing which is tremendous. I on the other hand have made some progress on my book, but not near where I had hoped.

As we look forward, Anthony and I are sitting down next Tuesday to talk about what we want to accomplish for 2015. I will post our goals after we meet – but I am pretty sure one of Anthony’s new goals is to try to visit his sister in Seattle this year! Not sure how we’ll do that financially at this point, but we’ll find a way. Oh, and he told me today that he has quit smoking?!!? Wow….that is HUGE! He hasn’t had a cigarette he said since Jan 2nd. “I’ve been chewing lots of nicotine gum – it helps.” I hope he can keep that up.

 

 

 

 

 

Talking Turkey with Anthony

While the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes tend to gobble up most of our focus for the Thanksgiving holiday – it’s really about reflecting on what we are thankful for. It’s about family, community, giving and so much more. And there’s no pressure to buy anyone a gift or find a clever costume. Just family, friends, food and fellowship.

I wasn’t in DC for Thanksgiving so I didn’t get to have turkey with Anthony – but I did meet up with him today to see how his Thanksgiving was and get caught up on some other items. We decided to check out a new spot a block from Anthony’s “office” at 19th and M. “They’ve got fresh carved turkey sandwiches there – real sandwiches!” Anthony professed.

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Anthony, George Vincent Jr. of Capriotti’s, and me at the newly inaugurated Capriotti’s on M Street in Northwest DC.

Capriotti’s was started in Delaware more than 30 years ago and is now approaching 100 shops around the country. We’re slated to get about a dozen here in the Greater DC area. The sandwiches are rolled in butcher’s paper and sealed with masking tape – like the place you used to get them when you were a kid. Yep, it’s got a little bit of that kind of feel.

I ordered a 9 inch turkey sub with hot peppers. Anthony, who is already a return customer since they opened 12 days ago, ordered the chicken cheese steak.

Half way through my sandwich, Anthony reaches out to stop a gentleman walking by. “Reed, this is the owner,” he whispers as he introduces me to George Vincent Jr. –  a third generation Washingtonian who is leading the expansion here in the nation’s capital. I was so impressed with how busy the store was with less than two weeks under its belt that I had to know the secret. It’s rather simple according to George – he credits fresh ingredients and genuine customer service.

Photo: politico.com

If the line that wraps nearly out the door isn’t enough of an indicator of the success to come to this DC newcomer, they might get a little help from Delaware’s number one son. “Joe Biden came in on our first day and got the Italian sub,” George told me.” He even took another back for the president!” Well, Anthony sure is in good company with his new favorite sandwich shop!

Anthony and I stuck around for a little while after we finished our lunch. I asked him if he had thought about any goals for 2014. “In fact I have,” he told me. He wants to focus on getting a second job and saving money to visit his sister Jackie in Seattle. “I also need to start thinking about a new apartment,” he said. His place is fine for now, don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely thankful to have housing, but he’d like to have a private bathroom and his own kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen – I learned something new today. Anthony and I share a love of cooking! Check back on Thursday to find out about the fish fry that Anthony and his neighbors do every Saturday!

 

New Year, New Start

2013Happy New Year! Although that sentence is beginning to fade from our conversations, it is very symbolic to Anthony and me. This is a new year and with that comes a new opportunity to achieve our goals.

I met up with my friend Anthony on Tuesday of this week for our regularly scheduled check-in. I arrived at our now familiar corner a few minutes late but Anthony was nowhere to be found. I even went into the Au Bon Pan where he sometimes goes to give his legs a break and warm up over a cup of coffee. But he wasn’t there. Outside again I started to give him a call and then saw the bright yellow vest far down 19th Street.

We wished each other a happy new year as we gave one another a big hug. It had been a couple of weeks since I had seen Anthony. He promptly gave me a business card of someone he wanted me to call for him. I disappeared into the Au Bon Pan again to find a quiet place to use the phone.

When I got back, Anthony had sold a couple of papers and we walked over to the Qdoba Mexican Grill that is on M Street. “I’m getting quesadillas,” he grinned as we walked up to the counter. I got the chicken burrito. I tried to buy Anthony’s meal but the manager smiled at me and said that his lunch was on the house. Anthony is an integral part of the community around 19th and M and several of the establishments take good care of him.

I got my notebook out as I finished my lunch to start reviewing our progress. I had disappointing news for Anthony. I hadn’t followed up on most of my to do list. I kind of shut down over the holidays. He went easy on me though – well, maybe that was because he too hadn’t done any of his homework either! We chalked these minor rebuffs up to the holidays.

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Anthony opens a gift from some fans in Pennsylvania! (photo: Reed Sandridge)

We got refocused and committed ourselves to getting back on track.

Before we wrapped up, I gave Anthony a package that I received for him from Kipp and Christine from Pennsylvania. They bought him the thermal underwear he wanted! He was so happy!!! “You’ve got no idea how cold it can get being outside in the cold all day and all night,” he said pausing to really inspect the clothes. “These are really nice.  You tell Mr. Kipp and Ms. Christine that I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

We said goodbye and I watched him walk back to his corner to sell more papers. As he headed west on M Street, he pulled the thermals out of his bag one more time to give them another look.

Thank you Kipp and Christine!

Week 2 Update – Slow Start

If it’s good enough for Biden and Obama…then it’s good enough for Anthony and Reed! Ray’s Hell Burger, Arlington, VA. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

I met Anthony at his corner on Tuesday morning. His bright yellow Street Sense vest makes him easy to spot. His face was tired and almost melancholy. He spotted me and the edges of his mouth perked up as we shook hands.I asked him how he had been feeling and he said he felt OK. In spite of this, I felt he was a little down though. I probed a little deeper and he shrugged it off and changed the subject. “How is the writing coming? You meet your goals?” he asked.

We decided to go get some lunch first and then discuss our progress. I’d promised Anthony that I would take him to Ray’s Hell Burger over in Rosslyn – a place that I normally would say has the best burger I’ve ever had. But this time was a disappointment. It fell short – the quality seems to have slipped there. On top of that I was feeling guilty taking him to a burger place when I know that he needs to eat healthier given his recent visit to the hospital.

Anthony ordered the Soul Burger – a six ounce all beef patty topped with bacon, swiss Continue reading

Setting out on our journey

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Anthony and me on the first day of the project (photo: Reed Sandridge)

This story begins on February 19th, 2010. I was out of work – I was laid off at the end of September of 2009. The country was spiraling into the deepest depression since the thirties. Anthony was homeless. He sold the Street Sense newspaper to make enough money to get by each month – but not enough to leave his small patch of frozen sidewalk behind and get into an apartment.

Our lives crossed paths that day because of a personal project that I had embarked on. After being unemployed for about two and half months, I did something that most people would consider crazy. I started giving away money every day to a stranger. I wasn’t giving a lot of money away, heck, I didn’t have a lot of money to start with, but I did the math and had just enough money to make it a year (in case I couldn’t land a job) and still have a bit left over to fund a $10 a day project I called the Year of Giving.

The concept was born largely out of inspiration from my mother. She had passed away Continue reading