Magic of Twitter Brings Miracle to Homeless Family

Last night I was part of a miracle that I still cannot believe happened. I had to get up this morning just to watch the video a few times for it all to sink in. This miracle was broadcast to the world in real-time via social media. And to be honest Twitter played the biggest role in giving smiles to a homeless family’s first night in shelter system.

Instead of writing a bunch of words I thought I’d cut out a few tweets so you can see the miracle unfold just like everyone else did last night.

The winter shelter is no place for children so we drive families to a hotel and voucher them until we can find a more permanent solution. This single mom was living in a van with her 9 year-old son. When the city towed their van they lost EVERYTHING! I checked the family into hotel and then took them grocery shopping. Mom told me they desperately needed a change of clothes. Another woman at the shelter has an urgent need for clothes so I broadcast the needs via twitter.

Almost instantly Pastor Matthew Barnett from Los Angeles Dream Center sent me the following direct messages.

Because the only clothes this mother and child had were on their backs I didn’t feel we could wait another day. I searched the GPS on my phone and the closest store was Walmart. I tweet I was headed there. Soon I received this.


Pastor Matthew called me. He asked me to pick out a nice toy for the boy and suggested a Nintendo DS. The Los Angeles Dream Center is the church that helped me off the streets. Matthew Barnett has been caring for homeless people for over a decade. He knows people without housing cannot carry lots of stuff so a portable video game is a perfect gift. Even typing this now thinking about last night I get emotional. Last night I was a wreck!


I opened the Ustream app and started to broadcast over the net. Ustream cuts up the clips so I edited them together. The following YouTube video is what I broadcast from my phone last night.

Response was immediate and overwhelming. Here are just a very few:

My friend Kat Armstrong wrote a post even before we all got home. Please read her powerful post here.

For as long as I can remember I have hated this time of year. As a tradition I keep wherever I live ‘Christmas free’ to escape the holiday madness. No Christmas music, no Christmas decorations, and especially NO CHRISTMAS TREES! To reflect my holiday ‘mood’ I even change my avatar to the mean Grinch. While rushing to Walmart I must have been out of my mind and tweet that if someone helped this 9 year-old boy I’d change my avatar, and if someone helped the woman with clothes I’d get a tree.

I will be getting a tree this weekend! Merry Christmas!

Last night I learned that to see miracles one must be in a place where miracles happen – that place is helping other people.

Thanks to Union Rescue Mission and PATH Achieve Glendale for taking care of homeless families at the winter shelters around Los Angeles. Very special thanks to Matthew Barnett and everyone who donated to help give a little extra love this holiday season!

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  • http://twitter.com/greenlasagna Green Lasagna

    Oh damn, now I'm crying again. This is so awesome.

  • http://amyneumann.com/ Amy Neumann

    I LOVE this, thank you both for everything you're doing to spread so much joy and hope! :)

  • http://slohomeless.wordpress.com slohomeless

    With tears in my eyes…

    Absolutely fantastic story. And big kudos to you for stepping up and being the catalyst to make things happen for this young family.

    Best wishes for the holiday season…

    - m -

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1644234452 facebook-1644234452

    okY THE TEARS were rolling for me, we should all reach out and pay it forward to others especially at christmas time but year round also, thats a gift we can give our children to carry for life, god bless the man who found this family I have 2 spare rooms in our home and wish i could offer them to her n son till she got back on her feet, people must realize that there are so many familys moms dads kids living in cars etc, wake up america and reach out please !!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1644234452 facebook-1644234452

    ps i live in south alabama if we could get her a way here!

  • http://bloganthropy.org/ Candace

    This is a very inspiring story. Thank you for sharing this tale of how social media helped you work a miracle for this family.

  • Jamaica Abare

    this is absolutely fabulous, and really what Christmas should be about!

  • http://littlebytesnews.blogspot.com/ Patty

    Beautiful story…I want to repost it ☺ or at least share the vids on my blog!

  • http://twitter.com/Iconic88 Iconic88

    Wonderful story! Thank you! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/helpamotherout Help A Mother Out

    This is incredible! Thanks for sharing this Mark!

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  • http://tejasfan.wordpress.com/ Carol A.

    God is amazing. I hit a financial crisis yesterday. But found myself so thankful that our crisis is temporary. Only for a few weeks. We would make it by. However, there was much crying and tears and stress. Then I gave it to God and said, he'll provide. He does every time. This story put my crisis in perspective. When my kids wake today I'm going to share this with them. What an amazing experience. God used you all.

  • http://tejasfan.wordpress.com/ Carol A.

    God is amazing. I hit a financial crisis yesterday. But found myself so thankful that our crisis is temporary. Only for a few weeks. We would make it by. However, there was much crying and tears and stress. Then I gave it to God and said, he'll provide. He does every time. This story put my crisis in perspective. When my kids wake today I'm going to share this with them. What an amazing experience. God used you all.

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  • acedrew

    This is a Test Comment

  • www.blestatheist.com

    How wonderful! I am linking your post to my H2 Helper site. If the word about this gets way out there, then perhaps more people will do similar things. God bless you!

  • Elizabeth Tismeer

    Hi Mark,
    It's the end of January 2010 and I just watched the “Walmart” video featuring Jessica and Jordan.
    As I write this my heart is still twisted up in my chest. What a phenomenal life you have. I will never consider Christmas in the same way again. Like you, I am going to search for a way to do my part to lift up people in need. I would welcome your ideas!

    I am proud to know you. Stay on your game :) Elizabeth-

  • Elizabeth Tismeer

    Hi Mark,
    It's the end of January 2010 and I just watched the “Walmart” video featuring Jessica and Jordan.
    As I write this my heart is still twisted up in my chest. What a phenomenal life you have. I will never consider Christmas in the same way again. Like you, I am going to search for a way to do my part to lift up people in need. I would welcome your ideas!

    I am proud to know you. Stay on your game :) Elizabeth-

  • Sininjen

    hi my name is jenifer i am a 30 yr old mother of 2. a beautiful 3yr old girl named ava and ashton my 9 month old baby boy both being my pride and joy!!! I accidently came across this blog and have no idea if anyone will see this or care to help… But here it goes…I am in albuquerque, new mexico. I am from louisiana and came here 2 1/2 yrs ago only to be left by an ex stranded with my daughter who was only 10 months @the time. Soon after i met an older gentlemen who turned out to be not so gentle he was 15 yrs my senior and at first thought he was heaven sent being i found myself in a voulable situation not to mention terrifide. Before i knew it i was pregnant… Giving birth 12-7-09 this man who seemed to be “the one” suffered a great loss this march when his mother suddunly passed away.That along with i guess that well known “mid-life”junk he turn from my dream to my worst nitemare overnite…One slap to one punch to one broke rib eventually turned to my 4 front teeth being knocked out 3 broke ribs and a punctured lung… Then when i turned 30 this past july my almost 3yr old said what changed it all….”Mommy 4 your b-day i want to ask jesus if my fairy wings could fly just one time so i could fly us far far away so my daddy can make u bleed and cry no more!!!” that was july2,2010 i haven't seen him since… But now that i've protected them from him i have found myself HOMELESS IN ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO with NO ONE NO FAMILY NO FRIENDS i'm deathly afraid and need help….I;m not a drug addict nor do i have a criminal record please help not me my babies PLEASE…you may reach me byemail:{www.sininjen@yahoo.com}Or cell 505-980-6085 or505-508-8164 please i pray just one person might reach out a life-line to me

  • http://www.kameelvohra.com Kameel Vohra

    This is an incredible story! I just hope I can do something half as good. Whenever something like this happens it’s Christmas.