The Clown Car


My 2004 Scion xB has been referred to as a clown car on more than one occasion, and for more than one reason. It is rather colorfully decorated with decals.  For those of you who are not tech savvy, those checkered patterned splats on the four fenders and on the tailgate are called QR codes. They allow passengers (or drivers) in other cars to simply point their smart phones at the code and click and it takes them to this website. I added these to the TKJ-mobile after I observed someone typing the website into their smartphone as they were trying to match my speed, while reading the side of my car, going down Route 309. This is much safer.

The first time Fr. John Oliver rode in it, he called it the Tardis, because it is so much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. On more than one occasion, five adult men have travelled, more or less comfortably in it, along with a considerable amount of gear. Sometimes when we arrive to serve, I get out of the car. People keep getting out of the car. Then we unload the gear, and I get the clown car crack. Hey, it’s paid for and it has lasted eight and half years so far.

The decals have attracted some interest. We have had conversations with people in neighboring lanes, who say they want to donate or get involved as we are driving up North Broad St. in Phila. This week we received seven large bags of winter coats that the folks at Selas Fluid Processing Corp. gathered. An employee apparently saw the TKJ-mobile and shot the QR code. One thing led to another. Thanks! May God bless you. Now, thanks, in part, to the clown car, a whole bunch of men, women and children will be warmer this winter.

The week before Christmas, I pulled into a parking space at the bank. My cellphone was ringing. I had a conversation with an icon customer. While I was still on the phone, a woman stood outside of my window, waiting to talk to me. I ended my phone call and rolled down my window and asked if I could help her. She said, “Do you take in homeless children?” I said, “No. Why? What is the story? Maybe we can find someone to help.” She told me she was about to kick her 26 year old son out of the house. I told her that he wasn’t a child. We began to discuss alternatives. She felt this was God’s appointment. Since then, we have been working with this troubled young man, who is struggling with a heroin addiction, and his family. It has been intense at times. He has helped us serve on the street the last three weeks and made the beans and rice last week. The guys really liked it. He is a skilled chef. Please pray for Jonathan and Jacqueline and Bob. They have a long and rough road ahead of them. We see this part of the ministry as homelessness prevention.

The TKJ-mobile is used as sort of a community car. Various people have used it when they do not have a car or theirs is in the shop, or it is the appropriate vehicle for the task.  It has been to Canada without me to help some poor, Vietnamese neighbors bless a baby. It has been to numerous court dates and to the county assistance office, with or without me. It has met countless buses and trains and a few planes. Yes, it’s funny looking. I put Mercedes stars on it, because the people we carry are worthy of high class treatment. Thank you all for helping me keeping it on the road with gas in the tank.

Oh, I forgot to mention the “Ah-OO-gah” horn that heralds our arrival at 1801 Vine at 8 pm each Thursday night where we serve between 150 and 200 tasty, nutritious, hot meals to homeless folks in Jesus’ Name.

You Need Merch.

The much anticipated merchandise page and Queensboro Shirt Co. store for TKJ logo embroidered goods is finally operational. Please make use of it. Here is a coupon to get you started on your logo wear:

Save 25% on your order from our Online Logo Apparel Store
Use coupon code Save25 at checkout or click on the link below to begin

St. Basil the Great, Protector of the Poor

pdl03The harshest form of covetousness is not even to give things perishable to those who need them. “But whom do I treat unjustly,” you say, “by keeping what is my own?” Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all – this is what the rich do. They first take possession of the common property, and then they keep it as their own because they were the first to take it. But if every man took only what sufficed for his own need, and left the rest to the needy, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, no one would be in need.
Did you not fall naked from the womb? Will you not go back naked to the earth? Where is your present property from? If you think that it came to you by itself, you don’t believe in God, you don’t acknowledge the creator and you are not thankful to Him who gave it to you. But if you agree and confess that you have it from God, tell us the reason why He gave it to you.
Is God unjust, dividing unequally the goods of this life? Why are you rich, while the other is poor? Isn’t it, if for no other reason, so that you can gain a reward for your kindness and faithful stewardship, and for him to be honored with the great virtue of patience? But you, having gathered everything inside the empty bosom of avarice, do you think that you wrong no one, while you rob so many people?
Who is the greedy person? It’s him, who doesn’t content himself with what he has. And who the thief? He who steals what belongs to others. And you think that you are not greedy, and that you do not rob others? What had been granted to you so that you might care for others, you claim for yourself.
He who strips a man of his clothes is to be called a thief. Is not he who, when he is able, fails to clothe the naked, worthy of no other title? The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.
– St. Basil the Great

The 3rd Annual Hummus Open

Nearly $500 raised for The King's Jubilee. Thanks guys!
Nearly $500 raised for The King’s Jubilee. Thanks guys!

The third annual Hummus Open to benefit The King’s Jubilee was held at the Mainland Golf Club in Mainland, PA on November 23. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy there was doubt as to whether or not the event would take place. Though circumstances related to the “super storm” affected turnout for the tournament, it did not diminish the enthusiasm of the six participating golfers. Weather conditions and a few fallen trees on the course were worrisome, but it turned out to be a beautiful day and the Mainland staff did yeoman-like work getting the course in excellent condition for the players.

The famous Beige Jacket for the Hummus Open Champion.
The tub of hummus.

Peter Psomiadis, the winner of the inaugural event in 2010, recaptured the title as he won the event going away by five strokes on the strength of his short game and iron play. Jerome Burke, who drove the ball well all day, but fell apart on the short game and putting, was runner up. Ernesto Bentencort took honors for the “closest to the pin” award hitting a fantastic 9 iron shot ten feet from the pin on the difficult 9th hole. For his effort, he was awarded a bottle of Ouzu. The “longest drive award” was hotly contested between Jerome and Jim Eggers. Replay officials decided to call it a draw and let the two competitors share the tub of Hannah’s Hummus from Costco. One official at Mainland later commented, “if it was Karen Burke’s homemade hummus at stake, there would have had to have been a playoff.”

The coveted Garbanzo! The most unusual trophy in all of sport!

After playing, the golfers gathered at the Burkes’ for fellowship, food, and a couple of shots of Ouzo. They were joined by Cranford Coulter, founder and CEO of The King’s Jubilee, who presented the awards. Cranford unveiled the newly designed and highly coveted Hummus Open trophy. He had commissioned his friend and highly skilled artisan John Haggerty for the task, and John did not disappoint. Perhaps the most unique trophy in all of sports, the Hummus Open Trophy, has a giant garbanzo bean as its center piece, along with the names of previous winners inscribed on the bean. “I will cherish the opportunity to hold this over the next year ,” said Psomiaids on receiving the trophy. A new custom was also started by Cranford this year with the awarding of the “Beige Jacket“ to match the color hummus . This is sure to help the Hummus Open become a tradition like none other. Purchased at the local Care and Share, it is a ‘one size fits all’ jacket which will be stored for safe keeping in a cedar closet until next fall.

Nearly five hundred dollars was raised for The King’s Jubilee this year and plans are being made to expand and better publicize the tournament next year. “I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled the Hummus Open for November – how dopey was that ?“ commented Burke at the awards ceremony. The date of the event will most likely be changed to late September or early October next year.

Cookies: Shock and Awe

It was two days after Christmas, a Thursday night, the last Thursday of the month, Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Elkin’s Park’s night to cook the meal. They outdid themselves with loads of food for the guys to eat then, and more to take with them for the next day. It has been our practice to give away homemade Christmas cookies at Christmas time as a touch of home. I had put out the word for people to bake extra cookies for us to give away.

Man! Did you come through!

We had hundreds and hundreds of home baked cookies and a couple of pies for good measure! We just told everyone to take as many as they wanted. Just when I thought I could see the bottom of the bag, Jerry and Nick Burke showed up with more cookies! The people were amazed. And let me tell you, they could taste the love! I saw more than one street hardened, old cuss tear up for joy at such a demonstration of love and care.

Thank you all! May God bless you for helping spread the joy of Christ’s birth as a homeless wanderer among those for whom home is a distant memory and a dim hope.