All About Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
On most Tuesday and Friday nights we can be found from about 5:30 pm to 7 pm in the parking lot opposite Sojourner House on Barstow Street as part of our ministry with people who are living on the streets. We offer them warm clothing, gloves, hats, blankets, water, candy, hygiene kits, and whatever else we might have. If they need something that we don‘t have, we will try to get it! And beyond meeting the physical needs of people, we are also there to offer prayer, a compassionate ear, a human touch, and our friendship.
Our street ministers have also helped in finding furniture, dishes, linens, and other needs for new apartments. We can provide transportation for people who need to make appointments with social workers or other agencies, or medical care.
We also check out the caves, under bridges, and other areas where the homeless congregate and offer warm clothing, water, candy, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. as they are needed. Many of the people on the street have jobs and are struggling to find a place they can afford, or are saving up so that they can afford to the security deposit and first month's rent on a new place. Some are homeless because medical bills have bankrupted them, they have lost their jobs, or they simply cannot survive on the minimum wage job they are working, or can't afford to own a car that can get them to work in a timely and regular fashion. Some have addictions or are rebuilding their lives after an addiction has left them homeless. Some young people are homeless because their families rejected them for being gay. And some, like every other city in the United States that has a homeless population, are homeless children who live with their parents or parent in their car.
Homelessness is a real issue in Eau Claire and in the Chippewa Valley. Most of it is hidden, so it is quite easy to miss just how much there is in this city.