Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - January 22, 2023
"A Looming Food Crisis"
Our partners at Feed My People were kind to write the following as an update:
It has been just announced that the extra FoodShare Emergency Allotments that began at the beginning of the pandemic will be discontinued next month. This means many of our struggling families will see a significant reduction in their monthly FoodShare dollars. At a time of high inflation, this will put more folks at risk of not being able to provide for their basic needs including food and shelter. Feed My People along with our partners, including Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, are working to ensure that we can meet the potential increased need for food. Last Friday, at a Pop-Up mobile distribution at the food bank, numerous guests shared that they were there for the first time. Many had just been informed of the reduction in their benefits and were extremely afraid about having enough for their families. The distribution served 265 households, an increase of over 50% from past distributions. Going forward, we anticipate this to be a challenging time for our community. Please join us in supporting hunger-relief efforts in our community. If you know of someone who could use extra groceries, please reach out to Feed My People at 715-835-9415 or fmpfoodbank.org/find_food and we will make sure they get the food they need.
Note the line of cars waiting for food from Feed My People. The cars wind around the curve and all the way to Clairemont Ave.
Thank you for your support.
Tami Syverson, Partnership Manager
Suzanne Becker, Executive Director
Feed My People provides much of our food that we distribute on the street in order to supplement the meals our brothers and sisters potentially receive during the day. We are grateful for their support and encourage our community to support FMP's efforts, if possible. There are countless individuals and families in need. If you know of anyone or are in need of food, please contact FMP at the number or link noted above.
Thank you for your support of the street ministry and of those we serve. Let's continue to work together to care for those in need.
Blessings to all,
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, January 5, 2023
Tonight was a night that reminded me of why the street ministry is a critical part of the community in terms of serving the homeless population. We often say that our greatest service is to simply be present and provide a place for people to talk, laugh, cry, or share whatever is on their mind. Today we did that and also provided some guidance to resources in the community that would help further the next day – because of the hours we keep, most agencies or service providers are closed. It was a privilege to be able to provide a source of comfort to our visitors.
One man seemed hesitant to talk but eventually told us his story and how he came to Eau Claire from California many years ago. We assessed his needs and he shared that his feet hurt so much that he walked as flat-footed as possible to avoid having his toes touch the surface. I asked to see his feet, there were no open areas but his feet were swollen. We provided thick socks and boots, he grimaced in pain as he slid them on, even though they were at least 1-2 sizes larger than he normally wore: he wanted the least amount of contact inside the shoe to decrease any pain. We talked about his health, and that he needs to establish with a provider to obtain medication for blood pressure, mental health and some other conditions. When encouraged to make an appointment, he reported not having a phone and not even being sure who to call or what to say. When he left, he quietly said that he felt that he had “wind under his wings” and felt a renewed hope.
A man showed us that he uses bags on his feet to keep his feet dry and keep some extra heat in.
The next person that we spent time with reports that he’s had 3-4 strokes and he clearly has limitations: he has one-sided weakness and speech delays. At a previous visit, he had requested boots that could be pulled on as he has little control of one foot to get the boot on/off and is unable to use both of his hands to tie regular style boots. He arrived and had loafer-style shoes on which were slippery on the ice. With time and patience, he did get the boots on that we delivered and was happy with the additional support on his weak leg. We asked about his hand and if he could feel the cold. He has decreased sensation and movement and we found gloves and mittens too difficult for him to get on so we improvised and found a stretchy-but-warm pair of thermal socks to slip over the one hand to provide protection from the cold. We provided an adjustable cane as he was using only his balance to walk.
A woman we see regularly asked to show us one of her fingers that she thought had frostbite on the tip of it. We could see the area she was referring to but we couldn’t be sure. She talked for a long time about the challenges of staying warm when the usual warm places are closed.
The tip of the finger was blanched, a possible sign of frostbite.
We served guests from our arrival time until we prepared to leave, many come for food and/or clothing but many come just to talk as they have no one else.
Our needs list will be out soon. Please review it and help us provide for our unhoused friends, if you are able. Thank you, as always, for your interest and support. We couldn't serve without you!
- CVSM Staff
Addendum: both men noted above have been in contact with the social worker at the local library. It is a relief to know that they are working on getting some of their needs met.