Historic Hobo Bus 1985-1989
The first meal was served in February 1985 the coldest month of the year in Minnesota. At this time the bus is called The Street People Bus. Later its greatest fans its patrons, the Hobos, renamed it, The Hobo Bus! On a Thursday night Rick needed a dinner bell. Word gets around about the bus with yellow curtains, built in yellow bar stools, booths and table tops. It is furnished with a stove top for a 10 gallon double cooker full of navy bean soup- a favorite.
Men settle in, talk and eat the soup and hot, ARA, donated vending machine sandwiches. Later, they will hit the streets with a brown bag lunch just like Mom used to make, 2 sandwiches, fresh fruit, Danish rolls and candy bars.
Tonight blankets are distributed and needed. At -20ºF it's not really Minnesota nice, but then again, no one cares. Many wear a look of defeat as others describe stories of survival on the streets like an attribute of the Red Badge of Courage. They are on the front lines on the street.
It's time to leave the white bus with the picture of Jesus calling to those who have fallen between the cracks. The 25 seat mobile dining room, a cafe on wheels, rumbles across the muddy roads along the railroad tracks heading back home to Pastor Paul's Mission to be renewed.
Jim Robertson Captain and its commander of the bus dedicated to its mission and men. When the Target Center was built he moved around and lost some of his regulars, then with the Grocery Shelf growing, he was needed to truck in all the food donations. It was time to end this great adventure. Many lives were touched. Hobos talked about the infamous bus nationwide-Hobos found a friend.
|Archived News Articles|
|Date||News||Title of Article||What's Happening|
|Feb 25, 1985||Star Tribune||Bus Brings Food...||Hobo Bus Homeless|
|Feb 21, 1985||Star Tribune||Street People Bus...||Hobo Bus Homeless|
|Jan 1986||KSTP Magazine||AM 1500 Embarks on Campaign...Pt 1||Hobo Bus Homeless|
|Jan 1986||KSTP Magazine||AM 1500 Embarks on Campaign...Pt 2||Hobo Bus Homeless|
|More News Articles|
One night in January, the coldest night of all the Hobo Bus nights, I had the soup on the stove, hot sandwiches being served, the propane heater pumping hot air trying to offset the -40ºF temperature outside. It was a warm 50ºF inside the soup bus. Wind chill was -60ºF outside that night.
A few brave or should I say hungry souls had come in to get warmed and filled; probably 12 men or there about. We were enjoying the warmth and talking when we saw what we thought was a group of men through the frosty windows running towards the bus.
It ended up being three men with big fat backpacks on that would not fit through the door. In their haste for warmth they ditched the packs outside on the ground and crashed into the seats that were not taken. All three men had frostbite on their fingers, noses and cheeks. I gave them hot soup and sandwiches and tried to get them warmed up the best I could. Two of the men ended up staying for six weeks at my house at 900 Penn Av N Minneapolis, Minnesota, purchased by the church where three other guys from the church lived who volunteered.
Come to find out they had just jumped off an open rail car. They had their tent set up on the rail car from Washington State and were nestled in their sleeping bags, nice and toasty. When the third man yelled that they were in Minneapolis. They quickly go out of their sleeping bags and tore down the tent getting ready to jump off. Almost immediately all their stuff froze, the tent, sleeping bags, everything that had perspiration from their body heat including their clothes.
The worst thing was that they were in St Cloud, Minnesota not Minneapolis-the train was scheduled to stop in Minneapolis. It was another 45 minutes and they could not set up the frozen tents and bags. They were hurting bad when they hit Minneapolis. I have not heard from them since, but, after having two of them live with me for six weeks it seemed that they had pulled through OK.