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True Story We had a great independance day, with a large parade around the art museum, food vendors, people everywhere. We sat out on a little baseball field and watched fireworks late into the night. The city does a great job with their stuff, its a big party. Later on I found out that to prepare the grounds for the celebration, the city of Philadelphia stole my friends blanket. James is a homeless guy I know. Once or twice a month I go with some other people to find James, and others in his situation, to buy them sandwiches, talk, and get to know them as real people. They hang out by the art museum, and the Free Library, among other places. Many of them sleep along the edges of a youth correctional facility, and a nearby park. James tries to avoid crowds of people, especially homeless people, because he is working hard to stay out of trouble. He tells us about what goes on out there, how the vans from a church in Chester come out once a week with supplies, food, etc, and how whenever there is a lot of folks around, somebody loses something, accusations start flying, etc. I was surprised to learn that the shelters can be a dangerous place, where it's quite possible to get roughed up or robbed of whatever blanket or food you may have just recieved from the shelter. The city workers moved through the area where the parade was going to be coming through, and moved all the homeless guys out. If there was stuff still on the ground, like a blanket or bag of whatever, it was also removed, to make way for the celebration and the crowds. James lost a lot of his stuff, as did many other people. Fortunately, we had an extra blanket with us when we found him last night, and we'll try to bring more for others next time. I sat around and watched the parade, I enjoyed the fireworks. But I'm sorry for James and his blanket.

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