Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: $20 for Sheena Johnson

Big Easy owner Olugbala Shababu (left) and Dan Toto
with Sheena Johnson at the Trenton Marriott
(Times of Trenton photo)

BENNINGTON -- If one thousand good folks show up with 20 bucks each, Sheena Johnson's life will begin anew with promise.

"The clothes on her back are the clothes she has," Dan Toto told me this morning.

By now most Trentonians know the story of Sheena Johnson, the 27-year-old mother who was found living in a tiny Ewing storage locker with her 5- and 10-year-old sons. She faces charges of child endangerment. Criminal mischief charges loom, too.

For the 360-degree story by Alex Zdan of the Trenton Times click HERE.

Longtime friends Dan Toto, a local baseball coach who works for the New Brunswick Housing Authority, and Olugbala Shababu, owner of the Big Easy Restaurant (120 South Warren), raised 10% of the $15,000 bail over the weekend to spring Sheena from jail.

She stayed at the Trenton Marriott for a few days but had to leave today. Toto said Sheena passed a psych test with flying colors and that a piss test came back clean, so it was never about drugs or some wacked-out Trenton woman, just a mom doing whatever she had to do to put a roof over her kids' heads. By all means necessary.

Tomorrow evening, at 5 o'clock at the Big Easy, Olugbala and Toto are throwing a fundraiser to generate a sea of donations to put into a trust for Sheena and her 2 boys. 

Toto said Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride, whose office is across the street from the Big Easy, will give Sheena her first real job starting at $8/hour.

It's this simple: If one thousand good folks show up with 20 bucks each, Sheena Johnson's life will begin anew with a little promise.

And 20 bucks is just what I envisioned regular folks showing up with. It would be a strong gesture by businesses in Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, Princeton, Bordentown and Burlco to donate a thousand bucks, or at least $500.

Here's where Sheena and her boys were living a few weeks ago ...

(photo by Alex Zdan of the Trenton Times)

The Big Easy is located at 120 South Warren. Call (609) 989-7900.

Not to mention, if you show up with 20 bucks, Olugbala will feed you! Have you ever eaten at the Big Easy? World class cuisine, baby.