November 19, 2018

Francis Fund Update

The first donations to the Francis Fund in 2011 purchased "cooking kits"
for veterans in new apartments to help set up their kitchens
with meal-ready ingredients for their first dinners.

The good works continue at the Kansas City VA’s Homeless Program, thanks to the generosity of so many people who have donated to The Francis D. Sommer Memorial Fund for Homeless Veterans in the seven years since Francis’s passing. As of this writing, contributions to the fund have reached $27,937. I often wonder what he would think of all that has been done in his memory. I’m certain amazement would be his first response.

According to Melissa Jacobson, chief of the Voluntary Service Unit at the KCVA, most of the Francis Fund donations support needs and services identified by social workers managing the Housing & Urban Development/VA Supportive Housing (HUD/VASH) program. Approximately 400 recently-homeless Kansas City veterans (both men and women, and their children) are housed through this program.

Some specific purchases made through the Francis Fund in support of these veterans include the following:
  • 100 new mattresses
  • steel-toed boots and other safety equipment, so veterans can start jobs
  • microwave ovens and crockpots
  • utility assistance
  • shoes and coats
  • groceries
  • gas
  • apartment deposits
  • workbooks for mental health treatment in community-based programs
  • pocket calendars for keeping track of appointments, rent payments, etc.
  • thrift store tokens
VA social workers, Melissa notes, “are great at finding community-based resources” in support of efforts to give these men and women a hand up, rather than a handout.

To date, over 175 individuals and community organizations have supported the Francis Fund. There’s, of course, no overhead for administration of these funds because all donations are managed by the KCVA in support of Kansas City-area veterans in need.


Thank you to all who have generously contributed to this important work!


The Sommer Family

March 3, 2018

‘Losing Francis' released by Fomite Press

I think of Losing Francis not as a story of our family, or in a sense even him, but rather as a portrait of our nation's journey through a decade of American war.

https://www.amazon.com/Losing-Francis-Essays-Wars-Home/dp/194438846X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520093231&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=summer+losing+francis


 

February 22, 2018

‘Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home’ available now for pre-order

Slated for release by Fomite Press on March 1st, and available for pre-order now.

http://www.fomitepress.com/Francis.html
  

"Both harrowing and lovely, Losing Francis is a vibrant, indispensable document of life in our time.”  Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant

"A compelling and insightful book."
—Mark Karlin, Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

"Losing Francis
will surely take its earned place in the lamentably-large library of great literature of the home front.”  —Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Oklahoma State Poet Laureate 2017-18, author of
What I Learned at the War
 
“Robert F. Sommer has written a remarkably compelling book with boldness and startling passion.... It reverberates and teaches and beyond all else, it rings with hope.” 
—Barry Sanders, author of
The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism

Learn more here.


A portion of all proceeds will be donated to The Francis Fund.

January 8, 2018

‘Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home' to be released March 1st

http://www.fomitepress.com/Francis.html 

Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home will be released by Fomite Press on March 1, 2018.  

Here's what some early readers are saying about this collection:

“Both harrowing and lovely, Losing Francis is a vibrant, indispensable document of life in our time.”  Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant

"A poignant account of one couple's journey through the shadow cast by the death of their son. Inextricably woven into the story is the nefarious reality of the nation's ruinous recent wars. A compelling and insightful book." 
—Mark Karlin, Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

“Sommer’s prose often rises to the poetic, his storytelling is poignant yet never sentimental, and his unflinching honesty in relating his son’s life and death leave the reader with a lump in the throat and a righteous anger. Losing Francis will surely take its earned place in the lamentably-large library of great literature of the home front.”
—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Oklahoma State Poet Laureate 2017-18, author of What I Learned at the War

“Robert F. Sommer has written a remarkably compelling book with boldness and startling passion …. It reverberates and teaches and beyond all else, it rings with hope.” 
—Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism


“Losing Francis is a lyrical indictment of the historical, political, and cultural forces that keep America at war, and then leave its veterans out in the cold.”
—Max Rayneard, The Telling Project

A portion of the proceeds will support the Francis D. Sommer Memorial Fund for Homeless Veterans. Pre-ordering will soon be available at Fomite Press and Amazon.

December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017

Greens from our tree at home. Merry Christmas, Francis!
We miss you!