John Freitas - mentor and advocate
Our relationship with John, like many Brown students before us, began with Homeless Outreach, a program he created to keep the bedless safe after dusk. Every night, we followed him around Downtown and the South Side to check in on sidewalk sleepers and the hungry. Guardian or chief, he knew the city by name. But our dark walks were never gloomy - the man had the largest and least PC repertoire of jokes this side of the Woonasquatucket.
Today, we’re writing to you to help us give back to John and his family. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, whom he met in a tent city on the outskirts of Providence. Together, they managed to rise out of homelessness and create an organization that strives everyday to help those in the same place they once were. But life was never easy; their nighttime treks came at the end of long days of unpaid advocacy.
We, homeless advocates at Brown, have put together this fund to help pay for John’s service. It is the least we can do to honor a person who lived for others, and showed us how to do the same. If there are remaining donations, they will be left with Barbara - for rent, food, or anything else she needs to keep John's work and memory going.
The service will tentatively be held at 2pm on February 27th in Matthewson Church, where RIHAP held its weekly meetings.
John's memorial will be held in a couple hours - 2pm at Mathewson Street Church, between Westminster and Washington Street. If you're around Providence join us in celebrating his life one last time.
See you there,
The HOPE team