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A Peachy Day

December 27, 2012

Georgia – Friday, December 21

I ended up staying on the west side of Atlanta last night, and had looked into walking opportunities in the city. I found that there was a huge park on the north end of town – Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s version of Central Park in New York City. There were miles of trails in rolling hills, a lake to walk around and a couple of dog parks. You know a park is big when it has its own parking structure! Tula and I walked several miles on the paths in the park, then I decided we would head over a couple blocks to Peachtree Street. Peachtree Street is one of the main roads that goes all the way through the heart of Atlanta. The park is in the midtown area of Atlanta, and Tula and I walked all through midtown, then through downtown to the Five Points area. It was a cold, windy day and everyone was all bundled up. I think it was a bit chilly for these southerners! I actually wanted to go into Underground Atlanta to warm up a bit, but only service dogs are allowed there, so we simply turned around and walked all the way back up Peachtree Street. By this time, we had covered about 7 miles of walking.

Unfortunately, I had left my favorite windbreaker back at the motel, so I backtracked to get it – luckily it wasn’t terribly far away. While I was there, I figured I better look into a potential donation opportunity since it was getting to be mid-afternoon. I discovered that The First Presbyterian Church had a food pantry session from 12-3 on Fridays, and they were located on Peachtree Street where I had just done so much walking. There was also a women’s shelter, and since I knew where the church was, I decided to stop by in person to find out what they might need. Even at mid-afternoon, traffic in Atlanta was heavy, and I finally got to the church a few minutes after the food pantry hours were over. The church was enormous, and I didn’t even know what door to go in. I found one that led me to a security guard, and he called the person I needed to talk to, and I took the elevator up to the floor with the food pantry. I explained what I was doing, and that I’d be happy to shop for food for either the food pantry or the women’s shelter. The people I met told me about some if their outreach ministries – they have their food bank, and will help anyone regardless of where they live; they provide a hot breakfast on Sunday mornings to anyone who needs it; they open up shower facilities for homeless men a couple times a week so they can come in and get cleaned up; and they have a women’s shelter right on the premises. They also help with jobs and transportation – there’s lots of good things going on here! They told me a check would be most helpful for a donation so they could get some MARTA passes for bus and train transportation for people who are starting back to work. It was fun to talk with them, and they wondered if I would be around Sunday morning – its their busiest day of the year for their free breakfasts, because on the Sunday before Christmas they hand out free $25 Target gift cards to everyone who comes, and word does spread! I would be in Savannah by then, but I can imagine all the happy people on Sunday morning with a hot meal and a Target gift card! The church was 5-6 blocks north of the long part of Peachtree Street that I’d been walking on, so I walked those blocks, and then turned around and continued through the rest of mid-town and into uptown. By the time we finished, Tula and I had walked 9 1/2 miles for the day.

I was happy to get in the car to drive for a while, and we made our way east to Macon, in the middle of the state.
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