dave...a camper. he called us in a panic during a cold, early fall rainstorm. his tent had developed a gaping hole and he was in danger of losing what few possessions he owned, includings blankets, sleeping bags and clothes that we had provided later in the summer. we hurried to walmart, bought a tent, installed it at his campsite. no, we don't condone camping, but let's face it, they are there and need our help no less than anyone else to survive the life they've chosen.
maxine....a homeless woman. she lived on the streets and sometimes in a hotel with her abusive boyfriend. speaking with anyone who is an abusive relationship can be a tricky thing. i had spoken to her at times and advised her of the places she could go to escape the relationship...if there is such a thing as escape. maxine met us at ten pm, with a black eyes and swollen cheek bone. she was in tears and frightened. she said she feared for her life. we took what money we had, took her to the bus station and loaded her on a bus to dover, where she entered a long term shelter for women. i spoke with her weeks later and she was clean, sober and headed in the right direction.
mom...which is the only name i heard her called by. we stumbled on her and her two children at the riverfront parking lot very early one morning. they were sleeping in their car. we cruised by them a couple of times before stopping to check on them. she warily opened the window and we simply asked if they were ok. she was hesitant and seemed alittle scared. i asked the simple question i ask all the homeless i come across.....are you ok? she answered very bluntly...no. she was traveling to virginia to return home to her sister. they were now out of money, out of gas and hadn't slept for two days. they decided to chance it there in the parking lot. i asked ...what now? she didn't know. we went to macdonalds and bought happy meals and a couple of other things for them to get them thru til morning and while her two children were eating i gave them a rundown of places in town that i knew would help them. at daylight. we left them in the parking lot with a little money for gas and something to drink along with a list of places to eat that day. we left with a smile and a prayer for another lost family.
two many names to list.....men and women who come to us for bus tickets to job interviews. the requests are generally the same. i have an interview today or the next morning. they can't give us bus tickets for job interviews, they're out of tickets and so on and so on. we carry a few two way tickets and one or two small discount tickets and we give them what we have. some have called back and told us they got a job. some called and said they made the interview. most were grateful....and relieved.
brian...a street person. he is mentally ill. most people avoid him. he's volatile and sometimes erratic. i know him and often can talk with him. i'm not going to tell you it's because i'm a good communicator or because i connected with him thru his mental illness. it's because i bought him coffee. i gave him cigarettes. i gave him a dollar here, a dollar there. but over time, we began to talk. finally i walked him to connections csp one morning and they served him from there. he's now on medication and has his own apartment. brian is one of those people that i support free housing for. he is truly mentally ill, needed stability and treatment.
resumes...too many to name...too many to remember. setting up email accounts....same. buying acquiring thumb drives for storing resumes....too many to think about.
answering calls for blankets and sleeping bags in the winter. bringing people to the mission or other code purple nights when even the most hard core street sleepers seek shelter from the bitter cold or the snow. socks, underwear and other every day items that we take for granted, but the campers need access to.....bags full of them....piles of them.
coffee on a cold winter morning. priceless for developing trust and relationships. simply priceless.
this is who we are. this is what we do. you may never have heard of us. you may not recognize us if you pass us on the street...at least not for what we do. we walk among the homeless. we give them the help they need, when they need it. when others say no, we try to step in and say yes.we don't make videos of what we do. we don't offer you endless data. we don't judge or pry. we keep a low profile and move among the homeless, sorting things out and keeping aware of what's really going on. we often think we can't do this any longer. we constantly struggle for money and resources. we consider quitting and returning to our own, normal lives. but we know we won't, not until we just can't do it any longer. we continue to do what we can. if we didn't.....who would. if we don't...who will.
winter is coming quickly. we missed our bulk purchase this year due to lack of money. that is going to make our efforts even more difficult. please consider donating today...right now to help us continue. what if one of the above were your son, your daughter, your mother, your mother, your sister or brother. would you want or hope that someone would them. you see....i've been homeless. i was one of the lucky ones. i made it out. i know what it's like and yes....i would hope someone would help them........we are that someone. at that moment in time when there is hope.....we try to be that hope. please.....donate today. we can't continue without your help.
see you around town