Introducing Mr. Earl Barnes
MR. EARL BARNES is a homeless veteran and a spiritual writer who spends his days in Forsyth Park and the downtown squares gifting visitors with his poetry and essays. The first time we met, he told me of his aspirations to write a “Homeless Voices” column for the Connect and shared excerpt of the book that he intends to someday publish.
As a psychic medium, one of my gifts is to see beyond appearances and into people’s hearts. Mr. Earl’s calling to heal the world with his words radiated beyond his hypnotizing voice and dazzling smile, enveloping his being in beautiful white light. So when, over the next several months, I saw him pandering to tourists for their dollars by telling them it was his birthday, I felt incredibly sad; not so much because he was lying, but because he was underestimating the value of speaking his truth.
In a none-of-my-business moment, I tearfully asked him why he felt that he needed to lie about it being his birthday instead of asking for donations to help support his writing. This led to a series of conversations, a couple of writing assignments from me to him, and ultimately today’s column.
I am proud to kick of the New Year by introducing Mr. Earl, in his own words, in this open letter to Savannah.
GOD’S DAY ROOM
I am writing this letter because I believe that God has called me to do something about homelessness in Savannah. My solution is for our community to come together and build a place called God’s Day Room.
The Day Room would serve as middle ground that bridges the gaps between the existing program at Emmaus House, where homeless people get their daily breakfast, shower and wash their clothes; the lunch program at Social Apostolate and the 4 p.m. check-in at Old Savannah City Mission, where we spend the night.
The Day Room would provide shelter from the winter cold and midday summer heat. It would be a place to feed people’s spiritual, creative and intellectual hunger with classes in bible study, art and skills that can help us to earn an in income and get back on our feet.
Last August, when Emmaus House closed for cleaning and maintenance, we were left without its basic meals and services for three weeks, causing a rise in crime an illness among the homeless population. With the help of God’s Day room, we can close that gap and use the space to care for people at times like this when the existing programs cannot.
Back in Toledo, Ohio I found a similar day room that helped me to get back on my feet and instilled in me the faith that has become my foundation as a spiritual writer and an advocate for homeless veterans.
I believe that God’s Day Room will strengthen our community because God will bless us for doing His will to end homelessness. He is calling on all of us to do something.
With this faith I ask for your help.
Inspired by Mr. Earl's words? You can learn more about his life and poetry, buy his book "Ghetto Child" or leave him a note in the comments below. He'd love to hear from you!
Originally published in Connect Savannah (p. 45)