Friday, July 15, 2016

A sympathetic reader in Raleigh, NC....

....offered today's Crumb. It happened in Barnesville, GA, where 19-year-old Fred Barley put up a tent outside a local college. That's where officer's found him, but instead of ushering him off campus, they listened to his story. He's a homeless college student from Conyers who rode a bike six hours in the Georgia heat, carrying two full duffel bags, to register for his second semester as a biology major at Gordon State College. When he discovered dorms are closed until August, he decided to sleep on campus in his tent for a few weeks, with only a box of cereal to eat. He didn't expect any favors from the police, but he was in for a surprise.

First, the officers took Fred to a local motel and paid for his next two nights. An officer's wife posted his story on the Barnesville community Facebook page and hundreds more stepped forward to help. The motel owner paid for Fred to stay until the dorms open. A local pizzeria hired him as a dishwasher and plans to train him to cook pizza, working around his school schedule. Residents have stepped up to care for his medical and dental needs while donating clothes, school supplies and a new bike. A GoFundMe page raised nearly $9,000 in 48 hours. Amber Shoemake, shown above, felt an instant need to help Fred. He plans to attend church with her and her family on Sunday. He says God has been the driving force that keeps him going. "You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me," he explains, adding, "My legs are working. Millions of people walk and bike to work every day. I definitely think I can bike a couple of hours to get to my future." But he is amazed at the kindness of strangers, especially the officers who first ordered him to come out of his tent with his hands up. "I am black," he says, "and he didn't care what color I was. He just helped me."

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