Kindness, as simple as a cup of coffee, means the world to those who live out in the cold.
The new coffee maker purchased with the donations of Book of Dreams readers received a hero's welcome earlier this month at Loaves & Fishes Friendship Park.
"They're victims of abuse or neglect or deprivation of some sort," said Jim Peth, co-director of Friendship Park, about the homeless guests they serve. "That someone cares about them and shows an interest in their well-being is huge."
"I think it's the best thing that ever happened," said Mark Bell, a man who quietly observed the commotion, then went home to his tent along the river and wrote a poem about his gratitude:
The teeth of an early December Frost
Sink quickly into marrow.
Tattered gloves, hats, scarves and jackets
Donned against an ill wind.
Dreams formed and lost, hope melting into
A deep despair.
Each day a monochromatic blur of the last
And the next.
As God majestically paints a new dawn on
The eastern horizon.
The word, like notification of a camp raid, spreads
Quickly among the denizens.
The old and weary, the young and proud, the
Lost and forgotten.
The metallic tick of canes, the shuffle
Of battered shoes.
The soft crunch of gravel beneath a
The mood is solemn, cautious, though slightly
The murmured whispers of a few, but
A white delivery truck pulls to a
A large brown box cautiously lowers
A reverent hush envelops and quiets
All in attendance.
The box is removed and a Hallelujah
Arthritic hands clap and chapped lips cheer
In jubilant exaltation.
Tired and hooded eyes open wider, a lost
On the cold red cheeks of many, a joyous
Trail of tears.
For the Sacramento Bee readers and "Book
Of Dreams" prevailed.
As the forlorn masses gaze in wonder at
Their new coffee maker.
So to all who made this possible, we, the
Open our hearts in thanks and wish you all
A happy holiday season.