Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - December 21, 2020 - Random Thoughts and Notes
One of our homeless men currently living out on the street mentioned he was just notified his father had died. His father lived on the east coast of the U.S and our friend won't be able to attend the funeral.
**Grieving the loss of a father, Covid19, very cold temperatures for the rest of the week, the holiday season....**
Pastor Jen and I were serving a hot meal last week and we encountered a young woman severely underdressed for the weather who was trying to conceal her face when she came to the table to receive food. We enacted the protocol for someone who might possibly be a trafficking victim. Pastor Jen pulled her aside and made sure she had proper winter clothing to wear and enough food and water to keep her nourished for several days. Then she spent time trying to gain her confidence and find out if she felt safe or not.
**Scared and lonely, Covid19, very cold temperatures for the rest of the week, the holiday season....**
A young man relatively new to the streets stated that he'd noticed empty and unused buildings and churches that were not fully operational. He inquired if we thought the owners would have any problem with him sleeping just inside the front or back door of the building, just so he could get out of the weather overnight? We told him probably not now, but maybe someday.
**Feeling Alone and isolated, Covid19, very cold temperatures for the rest of the week, the holiday season....**
During this holiday season we remember a homeless family unable to find lodging for the man and the young pregnant mother. They ended up staying outside in a stable on a cold clear night and during the evening, the young mother gave birth to a baby boy named Jesus. Holy scriptures reveal the rest of the story to us.
Please pray for and remember our homeless friends and their suffering during this Covid19 season, while looking at very cold temperatures for the rest of the week, during the holiday season....
- Staff, Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - November 15 - December 15, 2020
As the pandemic continues, the mood of the people we serve seems to be getting more despondent. We cannot see faces as we did pre-Covid but our visitor's eyes, visible above their masks, speak volumes. During the summer, living on the street was not as challenging as it is now. With the cold comes more planning for survival, more challenges, and more needs. Because of you and your donations, we are able to provide safety and warmth with thermals and coats. Thank you!
One evening, after receiving a message from a concerned homeowner, we stopped and checked on a gentleman that had routinely been sleeping in the homeowner's yard. The message wasn't a complaint or request to move the person on but simply asking for us to check on the person. We were surprised to see the proximity of where the person was lying to where traffic on a main street in Eau Claire is. We talked with the individual and suggested other locations that would provide more privacy and safety. He agreed that he was tired of being woken up and for that night moved elsewhere. He denied needing anything and was laying on one blanket and covered up with another. He did have what appeared to be a heavy coat on plus a hat and gloves. We are grateful for the compassion and understanding of the homeowner.
We spoke with someone working downtown who reported that a woman in need of shelter had entered their building without permission. We know the woman and know of her significant mental illness that gets in the way of clear communication. We cannot guess what she perceives. She has managed to have some of her needs met but she is vulnerable and there is concern of safety.
When we were out Saturday, the temperature dropped relatively quickly and it seemed more seasonable than we've had so far this month. While we weren't out long, we were chilled with the wind. A couple of people that ate the hot meal we delivered requested additional hand warmers. We've routinely given out coats, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags and hats as well as the handwarmers. The people we serve are sleeping outdoors -- not at the shelter or on a couch or floor at a friend's house. Outside. Add the challenges or discomfort that an illness or being elderly would create to the cold weather and little, if any, good can come of it.
Over the years, I've mentioned how watching and hearing the care that our friends show one another impresses us. Imagine having to keep yourself fed and warm as well as find a safe place to sleep and then, in addition to caring for yourself, ensure that others in a similar situation are safe. We very regularly hear people encourage each other or have knowledge where a person is if we haven't seen them for a while.
Thank you for your support not only with donations but through kind comments, thoughts and prayers. Please be safe and take good care ~
Karen - Social Worker/Street Nurse