Person First Project – Della: “I wish I was having a nice turkey dinner”

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Person First Project is a photo blog that seeks to give those currently or formerly experiencing homelessness in D.C. the chance to share their stories. In doing this, we hope to reduce the barriers that separate people in D.C. and spark a dialogue. The Person First Project aims to connect us – and to make us all feel a bit more human.

“I’m from northwest D.C. but I was born in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I slept outside a long, long time ago. It was hot at first but then I got cold and I went to the shelter. I didn’t like the shelter because they take your property – other ladies will take your stuff. But it’s been a long time. When the Metro bus ran over my bad foot I had to go to the hospital for six or seven months. When I got released my sister said I could stay with her. I’ve been with her ever since.

All of my right side is paralyzed from birth because I had spinal meningitis. I don’t like the way I walk – I limp. I have a cane so I don’t think I can get a job. But then again, I see other people with canes that work. I’ve seen people in wheelchairs that work.”

What do you do every day?

“Nothing. Sit here. Panhandle. Feed the little birds. I like feeding the birds, but not the pigeons. They try to take the food from the little birds. See the little birdie?

I’m not doing anything for Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband are probably going to his sister’s house – they might bring me a plate back. I wish I was having a nice turkey dinner.”

With who?


– Della

One Comment

  • So heartbreaking. I’m a grad student and my stipend living in the district barely covers rent and food. It breaks my heart every day that I can’t give money to most of the people I pass. I donate what little I have left over to various orgs, and I volunteer my time. I wish more people would take a few hours a week to help someone in need. If we all pitched in a little of our time, we could do so so much.

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