Miracle Messages shares videos via social media to help people experiencing houselessness or unstable housing reconnect with family and friends. Founded by San Francisco resident Kevin Adler, the organization connects clients with caseworkers, who record video interviews.
Afterwards, nearly 1,000 digital investigators assist in the search process, scouring the Internet for clues as to the whereabouts of their friends and family members.
In this edition, meet a woman who hopes to reconnect with her father, and a houseless man who moved home to reunite with family after recording his Miracle Message.
In our first case of the year, a woman named Gabriella recently reached out to the Miracle Messages team hoping to reconnect with her father, Louie Vinitti, who is believed to be houseless in San Francisco. Gabriella has not seen her father in roughly six years.
Vinitti, born Aug. 21, 1950, was last seen near the intersection of 9th Avenue and Irving Street in the Inner Sunset. He had previously resided at the St. Vincent de Paul Society homeless shelter at 525 5th St. in SoMa.
Gabriella says her father is 5'7" and has a Daffy Duck tattoo on his left arm.
"I love you so much and I miss you so much," Gabriella said in a video message to her father. "I really hope that you'll call me. I'm not mad at you, I just miss you and want to talk to you and hug you and hear your voice."
In a Miracle Messages success story, houseless San Francisco resident Greg has reunited with family after connecting with the Miracle Messages team last year.
The team first met Greg while canvassing the streets along the Embarcadero last fall. He was struck by the Miracle Messages T-shirts the group were wearing, which say "Everyone is someone's somebody."
When he learned about the nonprofit's mission, "he began to cry," said Miracle Messages' Jessica Donig. "He said that he hadn't been able to reach his family for years."
After hearing Greg's story and taking down important details, the team gave him his own Miracle Messages T-shirt and a key with the word "neighbor" engraved on it.
Kate, a volunteer working on the case, was eventually able to connect with members of Greg's family, but when she returned to the Embarcadero to tell him, he was nowhere to be found.
Several months later, two formerly houseless Miracle Messages ambassadors, Brian and Beverly, finally located Greg during their outreach on the streets. They learned that Greg had been inspired to reach out to his family after his first encounter with the group. He had recently been in touch with his "favorite niece," who'd invited him to move home to Marion, Ohio after nearly 20 years.
Ambassador Brian helped Greg make his travel arrangements for the journey home, including a bus ticket. On his last day in San Francisco, "Greg pulled out the key with the word 'neighbor' and told Brian how much it had meant to be treated as a neighbor," said Donig. "Brian pulled out his own neighbor key and said, 'I never leave home without it.'"
"This is an awesome program," said Greg in a tearful video recorded by Miracle Messages. "They helped me find my family."
On Tuesday Jan. 15, Greg arrived at home in Ohio, "off the streets of San Francisco and living with family once again," Donig said.
If you have any information that would help Gabriella connect with her father Louie, please email Miracle Messages. To become a hotline volunteer or launch a pilot in a new city, visit the group's website.
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