Stephanie Gennaro was just shopping one day when she noticed a truck that looked like someone may be living in it.
“The truck was parked there for a year and a half broken down at the Walmart and everyone knows him as the Walmart guy.”
The guy in his car. Some spoke or gave money but few, if any knew his name. Its Ed by the way. Stephanie Gennaro decided she wanted to do more.
“I asked him what he liked to eat and went over to the Boston Market I came back with food and it was like an hour and a half later we got done talking.”
Taking a few minutes to get past stereotypes revealed more to Stephanie than most probably assumed when they saw a man living in his car in the Pottstown Walmart parking lot.
“Unfortunately he was laid off, he rented a home in Pottstown and couldn’t pay his rent and got evicted. He took what he could out of his place and went and slept in his truck one night and never got out.”
Now that Stephanie knew his story, the fact that he was in a broken down car with no heat on the coldest days of the year, just did not sit well with her.
“It was around midnight and I just couldn’t sleep and it was snowing I just tapped on his window. He said yeah I’m just trying to stay warm. I said OK, Ed, I’m coming back tomorrow and you’re going to a hotel.”
And that’s how the Facebook page and gofundme account “help Ed stay in a warm bed” was born. For the first couple of weeks of Ed’s hotel stay was covered by Stephanie and her family. But it quickly became a movement. Ed faced a medical emergency and received donations and hospital visitors. He needed to recover in a nursing facility but wanted to be in Pottstown so Sanatoga Center made room for him to keep him comfortable and close. And now because people cared, Ed’s about to get some permanent relief.
“He’s going to be moving into his own apartment on March 1st.”
Stephanie helped Ed apply for disability so he can now afford the small apartment they found and now just hope that together we can all help complete the journey to keeping Ed off the streets.
“He has nothing we have to furnish the whole apartment. Everything from a fork to a bed.”
Ed is a proud man, I met him but he just didn’t want to be on camera but he did want to thank everyone who cared about Ed as a person, much more than just the Walmart Man.
Stephanie helped Ed but she also learned a lot.
“Meeting him has changed my life.”
She learned the old lesson that one person can’t do everything but we all can do something. For Goodness Sake.