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Cambridge

April 8, 2013

Massachusetts – Tuesday, April 2

Today I was heading in to Cambridge, then Natick, both towns that I was going to make donations in. My first stop was in Cambridge, to make a donation to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, which is set up in the basement of the University Lutheran Church. Kathleen, the lady who had dinner with us on Easter Sunday, is the pastor of this church, and she had talked with someone who helps out with the homeless shelter, and they said new white crew socks would be a good donation. So I brought them 60 pair of new white socks, and Kathleen showed me around both the church and the shelter area downstairs. This shelter is entirely organized and run by Harvard students. Harvard is literally only 2 blocks away from this church, and there are 88 different organizations that Harvard students can choose from to do some volunteer work, and this shelter is one of them. It has 23 beds and they are full every night. The guests also get some food, and can leave some belongings there (for a limited period of time) while they are out trying to find a job, or working, or meeting with counselors etc. They can be in the shelter from 7pm-7am and volunteers are always with them.

Parking is an issue in Cambridge like it is in Boston, and Kathleen let me use her spot for a couple hours while she was out at other appointments. So Tula and I set off for a 3 1/2 mile walk along the Charles River, which was also only a few blocks away. It was a cold morning, and there was a pretty stiff breeze, so after a little over an hour I was ready to get back into town and out of some of the wind. I think Tula was happy to get back in the van! There were stacks of boats at various boathouses for different crew teams, but I only saw one guy out rowing on the river – that had to be cold! I let Tula stay in the van while I walked through Harvard Yard and admired all the old buildings. I overheard an orientation guide telling prospective students that it is called Harvard Yard because back when it was a new college, the professors could bring cows and horses into the yard to graze. He said that clause is still in the fine print of their contracts and about 6 years ago, one of the professors brought in a horse simply to make a point that he could! At least that’s what the tour guide was saying! He also pointed out the president’s house and said there were about 15 students who stay in dorm rooms on the upper floor, and rumor had it that he picked the quietest, most studious students! I wanted to follow them around and listen to some of his other stories, but a 56-year-old lady with a camera does not blend in well with 18-year-olds with folders and backpacks! From there I walked through part of town and out along a road with some beautiful old homes. And I passed the house that was George Washington’s headquarters in 1775-1776; then Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived there from 1837-1882. So I got another couple miles in where it wasn’t quite so windy. I drove past MIT on my way out of town, and then headed to the town of Natick, to make a donation to Family Promise, which is a program Edie has been very involved with for a long time. It’s an interfaith program to provide homeless families with children safe transitional shelter, meals and case management as they move forward. After I was done with that, Tula and I set off for another 3 1/2 mile walk around the town square and out into a couple neighborhoods and walked a total of 9 miles today. Then I headed back to Harold and Edie’s and had another good meal, and a little more time to visit.
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