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Lost wallet leads to new homes for homeless

Ginny Poorman stands with a man who found a purse containing more than $350 in Sidney Friedman Park and turned it in despite being homeless. Poorman is the executive director of Hearts for the Homeless in State College and facilitated finding the owner of the purse after the man gave it to her. The man has chosen to remain anonymous.
Ginny Poorman stands with a man who found a purse containing more than $350 in Sidney Friedman Park and turned it in despite being homeless. Poorman is the executive director of Hearts for the Homeless in State College and facilitated finding the owner of the purse after the man gave it to her. The man has chosen to remain anonymous. CDT photo

It’s always nice to be able to rely on the kindness of strangers.

On Thursday, a homeless single mother battling brain cancer was reunited with a purse she had lost in Friedman Park — with more than $350 in cash still inside.

A homeless man found the purse, cash and all, on a park bench late Wednesday. Thankfully, the good Samaritan, who wishes to remain anonymous, had the presence of mind to also notice the ID tucked inside the bag.

He tried and failed to locate the owner’s phone number and instead called Ginny Poorman, director of Hearts for the Homeless.

Poorman had been working with the man to find housing and was able to identify the bag’s owner using Facebook and a mutual friend who happened to be the woman’s cousin.

The man said that having the money was weighing on him and that he was glad to get it back into the right hands.

“God put it in my way for a reason. It turns out that she’s in a similar situation to me,” he said.

He didn’t realize how similar until Poorman and the Samaritan met with the owner, who also wishes to remain anonymous, to return the purse on Thursday.

It had already been a very busy morning. Hearts for the Homeless had secured two new apartments, one reserved for the Samaritan and the other for a remarkable coincidence.

Before their face-to-face, Poorman had no idea that the purse’s owner was also without a place to stay. The second apartment, which she thought would sit idle for a least a few days, had a tenant within four hours.

The man who found the purse helped the woman who’d lost it move into her home later that night, just a few hours after settling into his own — a happy ending that may have an even better epilogue.

“There’s people stepping forward who want to help him,” Poorman said.

She has directed callers to make a donation to Hearts for the Homeless so that they can continue to help the man pay his rent and purchase furniture and dishes for his apartment.

For now, he said, he has a place where he can set up a foundation and a structure.

“It’s a good life,” he said.

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