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Season Of Giving Is All Year For Two Sacramentans

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Bill Conlee calls his and his wife's efforts to help the homeless by feeding them and by cleaning up after them "not a big thing." The couple pays for the meals out of their own pockets and cleans up to help remove blight from local businesses.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

You may think the season of giving ends soon, but for some people, the season is year-round.

On any given Tuesday or Thursday, Bill Conlee can be found carrying a bag and one of those trigger picker-uppers for trash. This week he was at the corner of Howe and Arden in Sacramento.  He was dressed in a blue and orange Chicago Bears hat and jacket.

"You don't look like you're on jail detail," I say,

He laughs, "No, my wife, Michu, and some friends -they do like a homeless mission."   

Twice a week he picks up trash left by the homeless while his wife gives the homeless hundreds of dollars in fast food gift cards.

"We give them a $5 McDonald's gift card and just ask if we could pray for em," he says. "My job is, I go around and pick up the trash, which is probably 90-percent (from the) homeless, just to keep businesses cool." 

James Radford has a cardboard sign in front of the McDonald's. He was grateful to receive a gift card. He's homeless and says he lost all of his possessions this morning.

"I mean I got burnt alive this morning in my camp.] They lit my camp on fire. Somebody did."

As the Conlees are saying their goodbyes, a white sedan pulls into the same parking lot.

1230 15 good samaritan martina

Martina Griffin gets out, pops the trunk, and asks James if he needs any blankets or comforts of home.

"So here's a toothbrush and stuff alright cool thank you and some cough drops alright and peppermints."

"Alright! Thank you!" James says.

 Martina says, that as someone who spent her childhood in foster care, she knows what it's like to have nothing. 

"You know, I'm not in a church, it just comes from my heart. So just wherever it leads me. It used to be on my payday I would find someone to give $20 to every payday. It's just something I do   because I was a little girl out there, didn't have a mother, didn't have a mother or father. I just like to pay it forward."

She says she never knows where she's going to go to drop off gifts for the homeless. It just so happened that this time she stopped at the corner of Howe and Arden.

The same goes for Bill and Michu Conlee.

It's not a big thing. I mean, we don't have any funds coming in. We just kind of do it out of our own pockets." The end goal is to get every homeless off the street. You know, I can't save the world, but I can at least do something."

Regardless of the reason for the three good Samaritans landing in the same spot to help the same man on the same day, James says the same thing to all,

"Thank you and God bless you."






Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob is the Sacramento Region Reporter. He has been at the forefront of the coverage of the Sacramento Kings' saga and the effort to build a new arena in Sacramento. He also covers education, business, environment, and sports stories.   Read Full Bio