Amy Murphy the Chicken Lady hangs up her hat, “I can’t support homelessness as a lifestyle choice anymore”, “You can do better for yourself than this”, Greensboro, NC feeding the homeless


From the Greensboro News Record May 13, 2018.

“Amy Murphy: The ‘Chicken Lady’ hangs up her hat”

“Monday morning, April 30, 2018: The day I hung up my chicken hat.

It’s 7:15, and when I drive up, instead of slipping the chicken hat on my head as I get out of the car, I put it in a plastic grocery bag. There’s a crowd of maybe 40, standing there waiting, talking among themselves in groups of three or four.

Tables are already set up, and the other volunteers — to whom I had given a heads-up the day before — are all standing there looking a little apprehensive or sad maybe. I can’t tell which.”

“Gulping hard, I say, “Y’all, there’s something I have to tell you this morning. Today will be my last time coming down here to serve breakfast. I’ve been coming for more than five years now, and nothing has changed. Things haven’t gotten any better. Most of you know I’ve been writing against panhandling in the paper. That’s not against you — but I can’t support homelessness as a lifestyle choice anymore.”

Choking back tears, “I want to expect more for you and more from you than this. Living outside is no life. You can do better for yourself than this. You can! Whatever your issues are, I urge you to get some real help. There’s help out there if you want it.”

Tears are streaming down my cheeks now.

Several people look upset, and I reassure them, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still in town, and I’ll come find you!”

I reach in the bag and hand the chicken hat to Miss Betty. “Miss Betty, I’d like to give this hat to you. It’s old, and I know you’ll give it a good home!”

She smiles, taking the hat. Later that day, someone sent me a picture of her with it on — backwards. Hilarious.”

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