INSP Advent Calendar: day 19

Throughout December, we have messages from different street paper vendors. Come back each day to open a window in our celebratory #INSPadvent calendar.

Donate to back INSP’s work supporting street papers and their vendors here.

Phillip Black

Phillip Black (The Cat in the Hat), 38, Washington DC, USA

I had to go through surgery, and then my wife took my children to North Carolina, since I became homeless after the surgery. Today I am healthy and have my two daughters here in DC, since their mother couldn’t take care of them anymore. They go to high school and college, and the three of us stay in 14th Street in DC, where I rent a basement apartment. My daughters brings so much joy to my life. I sell Street Sense at the corner of 11th and E street in DC.

What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

My children. I lived three and a half years without them. I turned my life around to take care of them, which includes no more alcohol and or drugs.

How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?

I will have a look at the Christmas tree outside of the White House, and bring my children to go shopping. Christmas includes a lot of delicious food, and I am a cook. Among my specialties you find different types of turkey, ham and corned beef.

The White House and the 2009 National Christmas Tree

If you did not sell a street paper, how do you think you might be spending Christmas this year?

I volunteer in a church at Wisconsin Avenue, NW, in DC. There I bring food to the homeless people living in the woods close by. They sleep in tents or under some blankets, so I appreciate helping them. If I didn’t sell Street Sense, I would have volunteered more for that church. I have done that for five years now.

Do you have a special Christmas message for your customers?

Support the homeless, and don’t judge the book by its cover. Spend some time to get to know them instead of judging. I would also like to say thank you to the people who support the homeless around the city.

What is a traditional Christmas greeting to you?

Feliz Navidad means a lot to me, as I know a little Spanish.