Thanks to Pastor Mike for sharing your notes!
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, October 23, 2018 - Random Thoughts and Observations
Tuesday was a nice fall day but by the time we set up on the street the sun went down and it started to rapidly cool off. Brent, Barb, Brian, Chuck, Dean, Michelle, Marge and Mariah our new social work student were out this evening. It was a quiet night and we served around 30 of our friends.
Barb talked a woman who, on the previous Friday, came by with bruising on her face from being abused by an ex-partner. She seemed in a much better state of mind tonight and was talking about the possibility of getting into housing. Another man stopped by who was relatively new on the street and he had found himself a job but got emotional when he starting discussing how he wasn't sure he would be able to find transportation to and from work. Michelle talked to him for a short period of time and then went over to the bus station and was able to purchase bus passes for him to secure transportation. The ministry also gave out gloves, hats, socks, sweatpants and hoodies during our time out.
Our friends on the street are starting to get concerned about the up coming winter months and what they need to do in order to survive the weather. Our ministry is stocking up on warm clothing now just ahead of winter. Last year we didn't have much of a fall and winter seemed to go on forever, so now we are preparing early.
Each month of the year we are engaged in hundreds of conversations with our friends. We listen to their stories, their hopes and dreams and they are not unlike the hope and dreams that we all have. Our staff gets together periodically to discuss how we can best serve our friends on the street and other folks in the community that are part of the working poor. We have concluded over these past years that we need to hear the voices of our friends who live in poverty, they are in reality our teachers and we become their students and we must in turn work with them together to change a broken system. A good many of our friends are quite able to take care of themselves but we just have to be able to take the roadblocks out of their way and help them navigate through a system that many of us would find difficult to traverse.
I have always wondered why society in general chooses to try and ignore the poor. Maybe it could be that we are afraid that under different circumstances that could be us. Some of the world's major historical figures such as Gandhi and the Buddha decided to reject their privileged life style to live in poverty. And of course there is Jesus who allowed himself to be homeless, rejected material things, defended those who could not defend themselves and continually advocated for society to take up the cause of the oppressed. We certainly have a lot of work to do!
Sharing a few pictures of our friends and volunteers.
-Mike, Street Pastor - Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, October-22-2018
I always feel like I've got all the time in the world to post a journal but in reality, the days zoom by and now I'm combining two weeks into one note. We've served many friends and listened to many stories over the last two weeks, many of which stirred emotions in us. Along with this journal note will be the needs list, please review and donate, as able. As always, please contact us with questions.
Barb and I listened and talked with a woman who, along with her children, are in need of housing as soon as possible. She shared her frustration of application fees when she's been applying for apartments. She understands the purpose of the fees but feels somewhat hopeless that even if accepted that she'd be able to have funding for a deposit. The woman is working temp jobs as much as she can while raising her children. A good portion of her income has gone for application fees, anywhere from $20 to as much as $75 dollars, all of which are non-refundable. We continued to encourage her but could sense a feeling of defeat about her. Its hard to know how these individuals will ever get out of their situation when there are so many obstacles.
We heard from individuals inquiring about voting in the upcoming elections. We've gathered information for all of the people we serve to inform them and encourage their participation in the voting process. One stumbling block is several people not having picture IDs. While obtaining a state ID is free, there are challenges to the process: transportation to the office and the required documentation for obtaining the ID. Unfortunately, many of the people we visit with don't think about an ID until the time comes that they need one in a hurry.
On a positive note, the family that you helped us transition into a home last year stopped by. The father told us that a year ago, on 10/19/2017, they signed the lease for their home and they continue to live there today. The children are so much happier and healthier in their stable surroundings than before they moved in. Its a joy to visit with them. They required assistance getting through the transition from the shelter to the home, just as it sounds the woman I previously mentioned will need.
Brent spent a good deal of time with a veteran who had started the process of working with veteran services in Chippewa Falls. He had recently relocated to the area from another state and was frustrated with the delay in processing his military documents. He was extremely grateful for Brent's time and the items we provided him. Many tears were shed during the conversation by the man, the stress of his situation, his gratitude and the feeling of safety and belonging was more than he could suppress. This visit is a perfect example of what we do: a ministry of presence. Its not the material items we give but rather the time, space, and unconditional care that we provide that affects people in this way.
Please review the needs list and please help us with our upcoming fundraiser. We would appreciate your sharing the fundraiser flyer as well as our journal and needs list. Blessings to you all for your ongoing interest and support of the street ministry.
- Karen, Nurse/Social Worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, October-2-2018
We had a special treat tonight at Street Ministry! Pam and Paul brought their family business' ice cream cart down to hand out free ice cream to all our guests – it may have been a little cool out but who can say no to ice cream! (see attached pictures). Volunteers tonight were Beth, Marge, new volunteer/student Mariah, Chuck, Dean, Pastor Mike, and myself. Besides our friends who stay at the adult shelter, we visited a few visitors from the family shelter as well as a family that was staying at the family shelter a while ago that we helped get into permanent housing.
We served about 40 friends, many of the people that stopped by were busy getting ice cream. Most of the gloves we have right now are the very thin, stretchy, knit gloves. These are fine for now but are not good at all for very cold weather or snow and and our friends, especially men, are needing larger gloves. If anyone wants to go shopping for some much needed supplies we are in desperate need of thick winter ski-type gloves and/or heavy mittens. We’re also going through a lot of hoodies, too, and could use some donations of those as well, especially sizes L, XL, 2XL. Other popular items given out tonight were hats and blue jeans – it’s obvious that winter is on it’s way and people are starting to get supplies together to get them thru.
Whether people are homeless due to a mental illness, past trouble with the law, various unfortunate circumstances, lack of family/friends to help, or just because they are poor, being homeless in the winter is more punishment than anyone should have to live through, especially in a country as well off as ours. So when you’re shopping in the coming months please think about those that are suffering and consider getting some extra clothing items and donate them. And of course please keep all our friends in your prayers, that they may find warmth and hospitality this winter.