Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, January 16, 2018
Its hard to believe how fast time goes by, its already the middle of January! It seems that just recently our community was hustling and bustling with the holiday season. Throughout the holidays, the cold weather and the dark evenings, the street ministry has continued to care for our brothers and sisters on the street. We did take two nights off due to the frigid weather in order to ensure our volunteers' safety but tonight was not one of them, we were out in the elements and in service.
There have been a few weeks since our last journal and there are many stories I could share but for conciseness, I'll write about the most notable situations:
• We continue to be concerned about a woman who has faces
addiction challenges and other mental illness challenges. She
reported that she is between 70 and 80 pounds and looking at
her and her tiny frame, that seems likely to be accurate. We
have provided warm gloves, boots, a coat and other
necessities but that alone won't keep her safe.
• A young woman that we've worked with for over two years is
going through some difficult times with multiple systems. We
have watched her change and grow into a really neat person,
I am incredibly proud of her and her successes. She told me
tonight that she considers the volunteers with the street
ministry her safety net. It warms my heart that we hold such a
place in her heart.
• Another young woman who is best described as childlike in
her behavior is back in Eau Claire and we regularly talk with
her about her safety. We're unsure of her cognition but it
seems at the least somewhat decreased. She is easily
manipulated and is very vulnerable. At her last visit, she had
met a man that had gone to prison for a violent act and had
just recently been released from his incarceration. Her ability
to advocate for her needs and safety is lacking.
• A man that we've known who "couch-surfs" arrived last week
in a very slow fashion, he was limping and struggling to get
to his destination. He will be having a knee surgery in the
near future and will very fortunately be able to recover in
rehab facility for a short time. This is an improvement from his
last surgery in which I picked him up from the hospital on the
same day as his procedure and dropped him off at an agency
that provides a place for people to go during the day. While
I'm grateful for the place, I was uncomfortable that he was
being discharged with a fresh surgical wound and limited
It seems that every time we're out we encounter people new to the streets. Many are scared and unsure of their plans. We provide information to help with obtaining food, clothing, emergency care and shelter. Some people we see again, others never return and we can only hope that they've found safe shelter somewhere. It is no exaggeration to say that lately we've been seeing more new people than our long-term visitors.
Again, there are many stories but to share in detail compromises the confidentiality of the people we work with. If you have questions, please contact us.