Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Climbing Kilimanjaro and more for MontCo man feeding Philly's homeless

The Montgomery County man who has been feeding Philadelphia's homeless for a quarter-century against all odds, including facing eviction from his home, is continuing to attract fans and funds.

Climbing Kilimanjaro and more for MontCo man feeding Philly's homeless

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Cranford Coulter serving his homemade soup on the Parkway during Thursday night´s snowstorm. "It could be a monsoon," said one of the homeless he serves, "and he would be here."
Cranford Coulter serving his homemade soup on the Parkway during Thursday night's snowstorm. "It could be a monsoon," said one of the homeless he serves, "and he would be here." ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

The Montgomery County man who has been feeding Philadelphia's homeless for a quarter-century against all odds, including facing eviction from his home, is continuing to attract fans and funds.

After we told you the story of Cranford Coulter, who founded and runs the King's Jubilee ministry out of the Souderton home he was about to lose, donations poured in from around the world. With $45,000 in donations, Coulter was able to pay off the debt and interests that put his home on the February sheriff’s sale and continue to make timely mortgage payments. He also helped two families going through tough times.

On Monday, Coulter said he had just exhausted the influx of money he received this winter. But help keeps coming in and he keeps churning out those weekly meals.

A Doylestown couple raised $1,800 as they prepared to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, and plan to give the money to Coulter in the form of a grocery store gift card. And last month, a man volunteered to be a driver and take the coolers of soup and food to Center City.

The help is needed now more than ever, Coulter said. The number of people coming out for dinner on the Parkway has doubled to about 250 each night.

“The availability of jobs for people entering the workforce isn’t there,” Coulter said, citing many young adults who come out for his weekly soup deliveries. He also said many groups who used to also feed the homeless never came back after Mayor Nutter shut down their operations.

“A lot of groups never came back to serve because they didn’t know the ban was reversed,” he said.

Though ill in 2012, Coulter joined other homeless advocates in the lawsuit that undid Mayor Nutter's ban on feeding the homeless outside. Coulter drives to 18th and Vine Streets each Thursday evening to deliver his homemade soup to the hungry, who line up to await his arrival. (Yes, even in summer, Coulter brings soup to the hungry.)

Jim and Susan Reichman returned from their hike to Kilimanjaro earlier this month and are looking to raise even more money for Coulter. In their email to friends, the Reichmans said Coulter’s actions “are inspiring and what we all hope to emulate in our own personal actions every day.”

“We want to support him so that he can continue to serve those that are in need of a hot meal without the additional burden of finding funds to purchase food,” the Reichmans wrote. Their 

Coulter is awaiting the appeal decision of his disability application, which he is confident will be decided in his favor. His financial troubles started in 2010 when he became ill due to an infection and eventually lost his online business selling Orthodox Christian icons. He is seeking retroactive disability pay to 2010. 

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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