Street People, Former Homeless, Celebrate Fourth of July
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ For 8-year-old Nicholas Naudain, marching in a Fourth of July parade was fun but exhausting even though the route was only around the rooftop garden of the city’s only emergency shelter for families.
″My feet are tired,″ he said after the festivities began Tuesday atop Raphael House in the rundown Tenderloin neighborhood.
But he quickly added that the event was not boring.
In another Independence Day celebration, volunteers distributed soup, carrot cake and more than 100 watermelons to homeless people in a makeshift campground in front of City Hall.
About 125 people turned out for the Raphael House party, which included balloons, streamers and a 20-member marching band. Flags waved, cymbals crashed and batons twirled as the parade began. A flag-raising ceremony followed, and then everyone joined in for a spirited rendition of ″The Star- Spangled Banner.″
″They usually go all out on celebrations, they really do,″ said Nicholas’ mother, Terry Naudain, 34, who is staying at the shelter for the second time since 1982.
After marching in the parade as part of a cardboard fire engine, Nicholas summed up the meaning of Independence Day.
″To me, it’s to have a good time, don’t worry about nothing.″
Red, white and blue balloons and streamers created a patriotic mood on the rooftop, which was filled with blooming petunias, gladiolas and geraniums.
Rosa Armas, who lived at the shelter with her three young children last winter, returned for the party.
″This is like our family,″ she said. ″I don’t have family here. They love to come here.″
Maria Phillips, 53, who lives a couple of blocks away, said she attends the celebration every year.
″It’s just beautiful,″ she said. ″It’s a perfect place here because they do an awful lot for the people. It’s only an emergency situation and it’s better than being out on the streets.″
At City Hall picnic, Reginald Carnegie, 38, said he was impressed by the hospitality.
″I’ve been a lot of places and this is one of the few around that tries to do anything for the homeless people,″ said Carnegie, who arrived in San Francisco from Florida last week and rented a room nearby.
″It beats eating air, you know.″