By: Vickie Headrick
My name is Vickie Headrick. I came to Atlanta 35 years ago by way of a Greyhound bus in 1978. I was coming from Montgomery, headed towards Knoxville—I had a two and a half hour layover here in Atlanta and have been here ever since.
Mercy was, and is, a safe haven for me. It has been a good place for me to visit, especially when there is bad weather (our worst nightmare on the streets). Before I started attending Mercy I had been homeless for about 15 years off and on. I am glad to have a place where I am welcome during the day. I spend a lot of time walking—sometimes all day and half the night— looking for a place where I am welcome to rest or lay my head. Sometimes I can manage to find a friend to put me up for a few days, it’s nice to get a shower, a fresh change of clothes, and be able to rest peacefully. Sometimes one of God’s angels comes along and puts me up in a hotel for a couple days. Much of my day is spent trying to find refuge from the weather or find a spot where I would go unnoticed.
I like how Mercy built itself as community and how we help and nurture our friends, homeless or not. Mercy has helped me to utilize my spare time. Like the phrase goes, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” I know that I will always have a place to come, not only to utilize the facilities, but to have a chance to mingle with my friends, and participate in Bible studies and recovery meetings. I have learned a lot.
Recently, we at Mercy joined up with the good people of St. John’s Lutheran Church. They put aside a part of their church property to have a garden with us. I had a good time gathering with them at the church one Saturday to start the project. We nailed boards together to create raised beds, which we then painted and filled with dirt. There is one bed of tomatoes, another of squash, a third with melons, and the last is filled with strawberries! It was well worth getting dirty for the project; we will be eating well this summer!