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December 23, 2008
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'Twas the night before Christmas, and you sat up in bed.
You should be quite cheery, but you're worried instead.
Because as the year turns, you understand.
That others less fortunate can still use a hand.
As economic troubles hurt neighbors and nation.
It's only more urgent to make a donation.
You're not an elitist, or muckety muck.
You give from the heart, not for the tax deduct.
But to whom? And for what? It can be quite unnerving.
We'll highlight a charity we think is deserving.
We spoke with Fran Becker, a woman we love.
So much so that she's pictured above.
As the temperatures creep lower, she deals with what's dealt her.
And keeps running the wonderful Carpenter's Shelter.
It's on the Yellow Line, exit Braddock Road.
The shelter sleeps 80, but has reached a full load.
We hope you'll read for a minute, and then make a dash.
To donate your time, your knowledge, or cash.
From Dasher, from Dancer, from Prancer, from Vixen
Anyone can donate, even Jane Does named Blitzen.
Do you get it? A doe. A female reindeer.
These are the jokes, folks. The laughter starts here.
There's a reason the shelter's ranked up near spot one
On the list of worthy charities by Washingtonian.
They're creative, and tireless, and serve over a thousan'
With their advocacy, career advice, and even their housin'
But the recession pushes harder than ever before,
Donations have lessened, but not the line at the door.
Yet Carpenter's value does not stop with just beds
Their goal is much bigger; here's what Fran said:
"To end homelessness, forever, and not just to hide it."
Education's the key, and the shelter provides it.
Those who stay here are in classes enrolled.
It doesn't matter if they be young or old.
There're classes on working, and nutrition, and spending.
And if you're dealt lemons, then lemonade vending.
Jasmin Witcher, pictured here holding that toy
Designed one called Street Sense, for kids, girl or boy.
But wait there's more; it's the only shelter around
To offer scholarships, $86,000 since they got off the ground.
When Fran took this job, it was meant for the short-term.
She was still in grad school, with so much still to learn.
"I'll stay for six months, and not a later date."
Of course, that was back in 1998.
"Hey, what's in those bags?" we asked. We needed some hints.
Fran says they're donations from Girl Scouts. Must be Thin Mints.
Thousands of volunteers have given with zeal.
Answering phones, teaching children, or serving a meal.
Fran's thankful for partners, who waive the payment required.
Law firms like Hogan, Reed Smith, and McGuire.
You can join, too. Be a part of those ranks.
Once you've a helped a whole family, there's no better thanks.
That being said, we'll again burst the bubble.
Sugarcoating helps none. Fran has some real trouble.
Yes, this year is different, for whatever they do,
There are consequences from lack of revenue.
Do you help the downtrodden who come off the street?
While cutting programs for those back on their feet?
Then they'll likely return, before things are done.
Because leaving the shelter is only step one.
But with your help, Fran won't have to choose.
And that would mean nobody will lose.
Think for a minute, and don't be a miser.
And let Fran become your financial advisor.
Yes you can give. You can be heard.
Before we depart, Fran gets the last word:
"Our beds are full, our coffers are low,
so the need is great." C'mon let's go.
Now is the time; don't dawdle, why wait?
Head to their website and click on donate.
Thank you for reading; now turn out the light.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Bisnow writer Curtis Raye is also Poet-in-Residence.
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