It was a typically hot August day Thursday afternoon. Two men, in dress shirts and ties, wore orange vests over their attire. The wife of one looked just slightly cooler in her denim jumper with a short-sleeved top. But the temperature did not deter them from battling the heavy traffic at the U.S. 40 and SR 59 intersection.
They were soliciting donations for the House of David of Indianapolis as the sign on their collection buckets read.
Brazil City Hall had received some complaints about the group. This was their third visit to Brazil within a week.
Several motorists said the solicitors tied up traffic and increased congestion at the busy intersection. Safety was a major concern. Some residents thought the solicitors were from the House of Hope, a local endeavor west of town.
The soft spoken, but at times indignant, solicitors repeatedly asked why their picture had been taken by a Times reporter and why they were being questioned about their organization. They showed the solicitation permit they'd received from the Brazil Police Department.
Qutarice Withers, Minister Allen Price and his wife, Beth, belong to the Deeper Life Church in Indianapolis, a part of the House of David Center for the Homeless.
Withers said the House of David is a non-denominational church whose main function is to spread the word of God. They have facilities to provide shelter and food for anyone who needs help if they meet the criteria. To qualify the recipient has to agree to study the Bible for two hours twice a day and live a life without drugs, drink, tobacco or anything else that defiles the body.
They had no more flyers with the 800 number that people could call to request help. Neither Withers nor Price could remember the number. A Web site address they gave didn't produce a listing.
Price said he had a troubled background, having used crack and many other drugs and alcohol. He said he was a wasted person but the House of David saved his life and he wanted to help others like himself.
The House of David has 57 churches throughout the country. When asked why they were soliciting in Brazil rather than Indianapolis, Withers said they collected money there, too.
"We do this all across the United States," He said. "People need help all across the United States. That's why we do it. We use the money to feed and house people, pay bills and build more houses."
Withers and Price said they felt some of the money would be used in Brazil as they had plans, some day, to try to establish a House of David in Brazil.
There appeared to be some confusion between a local facility, the House of Hope and the House of David.
The House of Hope's assistant resident director David Hogan described his program.
"We're a faith based ministry," he said. "We believe that by faith our needs will be met and God will provide. Many churches donate to us and we have fundraisers. But we don't go out and solicit money like that."
The House of Hope is a drug and alcohol recovery program. About half of the residents are there by choice and half by court order.
"Our main objective," Hogan added, "is that the people live drug and alcohol free after they complete the program. It's an eight to 10 month Christian discipleship training program. The clients live here and it's a co-ed program."
Some local people expressed their feelings about the House of David soliciting money in Brazil.
"People in this town don't have the money to give to outside charities," resident Debbie Hobson said adamantly. "I don't feel like people from outside of Clay County should get a permit,"
Brazil City Clerk Janet Wallace said a couple of the city councilmen are considering revising the policy. The city counsel meets at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. Solicitation permits will be on the agenda. Interested parties should attend this meeting.