‘He Is Who I Have to Thank on Father’s Day’

J.C. Orton, the new director of the Street Spirit vendor program, received this letter from a female vendor on Father’s Day. It is a testimony to the caring spirit behind Orton’s work with the vendors, and the way he has revitalized the program to better serve the homeless community.

J.C. Orton distributes Street Spirit to homeless vendors in his van. Lydia Gans photo


The first time I saw him was in front of the Men’s Shelter on Center Street — a short, big man with white hair, a black cowboy hat and a gentle smile. I was there for a free laundry, and he was there to help homeless people.

When he found out I was new in the United States, and I didn’t have a work permit, he offered to help me to become a newspaper seller. Soon, he made me a badge to start my job, and showed me a place and time to get a free meal.

He told me about the places where I can find him to get newspapers, or any other help, and gave me his phone number for any questions that I might have.

That was a great help.

Doing this job changed my life. I could practice my English, earn money, get whatever I might need and have my free time. After a while, I found out that he knows many homeless people by name, with some necessary details.

Time and time again, patiently, he corrected my English and asked me if I needed anything. Now I know, a big part of my safety and happiness in Berkeley is because of him. He is who I have to thank on Fathers Day!

Thank you, J.C. May God bless you, and give you a long and healthy life.




The Street Spirit Vendor Program

The Street Spirit vendor program is managed by J.C. Orton. More than 150 homeless vendors sell Street Spirit in Berkeley and Oakland. The vendor program provides many jobs to homeless people in bad economic times, and is a positive alternative to panhandling.

Please buy Street Spirit only from badged vendors. If you have questions, comments or concerns about the vendor program, call J.C. Orton on his cell phone at (510) 684-1892.


Hours for Street Spirit Vendors

Vendors can call J.C. Orton at (510) 684-1892. If he is able, he may be able to deliver the Street Spirit to your location.


Monday through Saturday:   7:30-8 a.m.

At the breakfast at 2362 Bancroft Way.


Monday through Saturday:   8-9 a.m.

At Peet’s Coffee at Shattuck and Kittredge in Berkeley.


Mon, Tues, and Weds:   9-10 a.m.

He is parked in front of the MASC at 1931 Center Street, Berkeley.

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