Tag Archives: san bernardino homeless

Lawyer helps homeless with Omnitrans bus passes

Criminal Defense Attorney Traci Childers

When Traci Childers stopped by the Omnitrans office today to ask about bus passes, there was something about her that immediately intrigued us. She explained that she was a criminal defense attorney and graciously sat down with me to share her story.

“I’m Christian,” smiles Traci, “Every day I say: ‘God, I get so busy with my court schedule and so forth, that I need to do something for you. Show me what I can do for you.”

Soft fleece blankets are always needed, as well as warm socks and gloves.

“As it happened this particular day I was in my car, praying as I do, asking Him to take me through each step of my day. I was on my way to court, but I couldn’t find a single parking place in any of the lots around the San Bernardino courthouse. Finally I saw a car pulling out of this little alcove, and I pulled in. Then I noticed all these people who had set up these little homes there. They were actually small tents and stuff, but I call them little homes because that’s what they are.  And they were perfectly situated like a little community by the wash. I felt guided here. This wasn’t threatening, it wasn’t dangerous, and it wasn’t nighttime”

“I got out of the car and said ‘Hey, excuse me.’ and three of the people walked over to me. I explained I had some things in the back of my car and wondered if they could use any of them.’”

“They nodded, ‘Yeah, yeah, definitely.’”

“You see, I tithe 10% of my income. But instead of giving to a church, because I don’t belong to a church, I put it aside into what I call my “God Fund.” And so that’s God’s money. I ask Him what I need to spend it on. I would go to the 99 cents store near my house and put together these little packages of things for the homeless. I’d pack gloves, socks, scarves, underwear, soap, and toiletries into insulated lunch bags and carry them in the back of my car. I felt blessed to be in a position to give.”

This care package for a woman includes toiletries, soap, lotion and soft slippers.

Traci paused and looked thoughtful. “You know, sometimes all of our good intentions just stay in our heads, and we need to get out in the community and do things. I always think about the homeless people and for all the times I think about it, I don’t always act on it. I would see homeless people at the side of the road all the time, but it often wasn’t convenient to stop. I’d have to park very far away and walk. And some of them were crazy and just wanted money or booze. These people by the courthouse were different.”

“I’d been praying, asking God help me find people who could use these things that I had gathered and here they were. The answer had come. The three men told me their names said there were about 20 people living there. They said they could really use men’s underwear, which I happened to have. They also explained that they really needed bus passes.”

This pillow was a giveaway Traci had received. Even small items like this can be a good care package addition.

“I could see they were clean, they were well-organized for what they had there, and it seemed like they helped each other. It was a community. It might not be the same community we would consider, but was a community nonetheless. And that’s what I’m looking for, because I believe in giving people a leg up. The fact that they wanted to take the bus to go somewhere and do something versus wandering on the street and hanging out at the liquor store says something to me.”

“You know I never would have thought about bus passes—ever. I just think about taking care of their basic needs. I knew they probably needed soap, toiletries, water and food. But I never thought about the importance of bus passes until they told me. So that’s why I came here today, to pick up bus passes and bus books to give to them.”

I asked Traci if she could show me some of the packages in her car and let me take her photo. She agreed accommodatingly, thinking it might inspire others to pay it forward. Her relaxed, friendly manner made it easy to understand why strangers would trust her and open up to her.

One of the men in the homeless community was too thin for regular men’s underclothing to fit. She put together a special package of items for him in his size.

She laughed.  “I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that God made me Italian. You know we love to talk to everyone. I just have always wanted to treat people the way I want to be treated. Even with my clients, I want them to feel that they are important and given respect. Some attorneys can have attitudes.  ‘They’ll say, don’t worry, I’ll take care of your case, goodbye.’ I explain what I would like to do and ask them what they think about that plan. It’s their case, you know? I can advise them, but only they know what they need.  Just like I can give homeless people whatever I think is helpful, but when they tell me what they really need—this is a great thing. It gives me purpose, to give something of real value rather than just something I want to give.”

Have you ever paid it forward to someone by gifting them with a bus pass? Tell us your story!

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Homeless newlyweds get fresh start with Omnitrans

Homeless newlyweds used Omnitrans to help them overcome homelessnessThree years ago Corey and Maryrose Boggs were homeless and living on the streets in San Bernardino County. Omnitrans played a key role in their journey to self-sufficiency.

Corey was 19 and Maryrose was 18 when they met on the Internet and fell in love. However, there were major complications to overcome. Corey was living in Chicago and had recently lost his job. His plan was to find work and save up money for six months so the two could meet in person and get married. To Maryrose, that felt like an eternity. Unable to wait, she held a garage sale, sold most of her belongings and flew to Chicago to be with Corey.

Four days later, they got married at Corey’s uncle’s house church, Potter’s Field Ministries, in Bridgeview, IL. When they flew back to California, they faced less than ideal circumstances as they bounced from place to place, living briefly with relatives, staying at homeless  shelters, and working for a short time at a Christian-based farm for room and board. “”We even slept in a bush for a short time,”” laughed Corey. ””You can tell a woman really loves you when she’s willing to live with you in a bush!””

With little money and few resources, the two relied heavily on public transit to help them overcome their circumstances. “We used Omnitrans to do everything,” said Maryrose. “We rode the bus to get to the library to do job searches, to the Salvation Army so that we could shower and to the plasma center so we could donate plasma to get money for food and fares. For a while we even rode Omnitrans out to Crafton Hills College and used their library computers to take online college classes.”

At one point the couple posted an ad to Craig’s List, asking for a bus pass donation just so they could keep going. A good Samaritan responded, meeting them at an outlet, and buying both of them a 31-Day pass. It was an amazing and unexpected gift for the grateful pair. “The man told us he’d been through hard times himself,” said Corey. “And that he felt it was important that we all look out for one another.”

This October, Corey and Maryrose celebrate their third wedding anniversary. The two now live happily in a nice apartment in Illinois where Corey works in sales doing door-to-door marketing. He plans on going back to school and finishing his business degree. He offers two pieces of advice to others who find themselves out on the street.

“Don’t be an idiot and decide to do drugs. You need a straight mind to find a job and get out of your situation. There’s so many things you need to think about all the time. For instance you can’t shower just anywhere, and it’s a lot harder to get work if you’re dirty. You have to be able to find the resources you need to get help. Also, take advantage of public transportation in your area. Omnitrans was a huge lifesaver for us and opened the door to more opportunities. If you can, invest in a 31-Day Bus Pass. We did a lot of one day at a time passes, but it is so much cheaper if you can buy the longer passes. You will save a lot of money that way.””

“And have faith. Being together was always the most important thing for us,” added Maryrose. “We trusted in God and our love for each other.”

Corey agrees. “I can say with 100% certainty that our future is solid. When you’ve gone through living on the street together, you know there is nothing you can’t survive as a couple.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

“Infinite Love” symbolized Maryrose and Corey’s love and commitment to each other

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org