Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal August 30, 2019
We enjoyed pleasant weather as we served this evening; Marj, Cat, Wendy, Larry, Chuck, Brent, Brian, Pastor Mike, Lynn and myself were out. We served approximately 40 people.
Lynn and I spoke with a young woman who is pregnant. We learned that she has had a child before and that due to a chronic medical condition, she is considered as having a high risk pregnancy. While she is not due for several months, she is stressed about the baby's (and her) well-being. We asked her what she does during the day and she said that she tries to find out of the way locations to keep her feet elevated and she attempts to remain hydrated. We talked about the importance of her finding an OB, attending prenatal appointments, medications and coordination of prenatal care.
One woman was pleased that we had rosaries available, she took one and clutched it tightly as she walked away. We don't have regular requests for rosaries but its nice to have them on hand when they are asked for. It was definitely a comfort for this woman and a simple item for us to have on hand.
Volunteers crossed the street and went to the shelter to talk to a young couple. The couple shared that they were feeling optimistic that they were getting closer to obtaining housing. They have been mentioned in journals previously and have been on the street for nearly a year, possibly longer. They continue to work towards improving their situation yet are patient and understanding of the systems they're working within.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the street ministry. We rely on you to keep the ministry's needs met and allow us to keep doing what we do. We genuinely appreciate you!
Please keep the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers. Many of the people we serve don't need 'things' but they want and need the positive energy and prayers you provide. On their behalf, thank you.
Karen - Nurse/Social worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, August 9th and 16th, 2019
Serving tonight were Larry, Brent, Marj, Wendy, Cat, Pastor Mike, Barb, and myself. We served approximately 57, several were new to us. When we arrived at the site where we set up, there were already at least 10 people waiting by the shelter, we wondered why as the weather was quite nice and the shelter wasn't due to open for 1 1/2 hours. Maybe there just aren't enough places available to sit and rest, I'm not sure. After we had our brief meeting to update one another, we started greeting our visitors.
Several of the people we served were people we've known for many years and have for whatever reason, returned to a situation in which they need the shelter and other services, including ours. There's sometimes a feeling sadness among the volunteers when people return to the street as we know that there's a sense of loss and frustration that no one should have to experience. We do what we can to provide for basic needs and socially support the person as they start the process of obtaining housing all over again.
We spoke with three women who are pregnant. One woman is due in December and seems to be struggling more now than a few weeks ago. She denies any concerns but we'll keep an eye on her just the same. Another woman was extremely grateful for a pair of tennis shoes that we provided to her, she'd been wearing slip on flat shoes that provided little support. She left with a spring in her step compared to how she arrived.
Another young woman we spoke with shared that she came to Eau Claire a few weeks ago from out of state based on a recommendation from a friend living here. She came to escape the dangers of living in a huge metropolitan area, her neighborhood was unsafe and she wants a better life. She obtained employment quickly upon her arrival and takes a bus as far as she can and walks the rest of the way. We questioned if she needed shoes but she declined saying that she was fine but would contact us if anything changed. She did ask for a backpack on wheels, we had an option that was acceptable to her and she was very grateful for it.
We left as the parking lot near the shelter filled up, most of the guests had come by to see us. We hope and pray for everyone's safety and well-being as they travel on their journeys.
Thank you for your support and interest. Please keep the people we serve as well as the volunteers in your thoughts and prayers.
Karen - Nurse/Social Worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, 8-16-2019
Serving tonight were Larry, Brent, Cat, Pastor Mike, Wendy, Marj and myself. We enjoyed beautiful sunny and warm weather, within the next few weeks we’ll likely need to start bringing more hoodies with us. This evening was especially enjoyable as we had guests that served ice cream treats, it was an unexpected pleasure for our visitors. There were smiles that we hadn’t seen in a while from some people, other people who typically don’t stay to visit did linger a little longer and engaged in conversation. The ice cream was delicious but how it brought people together was more important. Thanks to Pam and Paul of 9degrees.com for their generous gift!
We provided shoes to a young woman who recently moved to Eau Claire. She works at a location that is not on a bus line and states she rides it as far as she can and then walks nearly a mile to get to her employment. She has some leads for housing and is hopeful for a home before too long. She maintains that while living without permanent shelter is a challenge, it is still an improvement from where she came from.
A young couple that we’ve gotten to know shared that they believe that they’re progressing towards housing. They are hard workers at their jobs and have impressed us with their dedication to their employment, their perseverance in getting housing and their devoutness to each other. Often, they opt to take only water as they tell us they don’t want to carry another bag or that they have what they need. Tonight, however, there was room for ice cream and they thoroughly enjoyed the snack.
Near the end of our visit a man that we’ve seen periodically over the years arrived and appeared to be under the influence of some substance. He remarked that his wife had passed away in the last couple of years and that he wasn’t handling it well. We have not seen him in this condition for a very long time, his grief of his loss is as fresh today as it was when his wife passed away. His visit was an important reminder that people living on the streets have friends and families and experience the same emotions as those of us with housing. I can’t imagine the added stress of not having the comforts of home when grieving.
At the end of our visit, we estimate that we served 55 people. Please keep them and anyone else in need of permanent shelter in your thoughts and prayers. Also, please check out our needs list as it has been updated to reflect our current needs.
Thank you so much for your continued interest and support.
Karen - Nurse/Social Worker