Friday - July 26, 2019
We were busy tonight and served around 60 people. Volunteering tonight were Chuck, Larry, Marge, Wendy, Pastor Mike and myself. There were people that didn't come across the street and the shelter is serving even more people than we do. We don't know why there is such an increase in people in need but it is concerning. The concern is not so much for our inventory or work but in general as the amount of people suffering has increased and that's wrong.
There are a couple of young women out there who are pregnant and while they are not due to deliver for several months, we are concerned about their well-being. One woman reports that with previous pregnancies she had complications throughout and she's always delivered several weeks early. We assess for safety, ask basic questions, and encourage prenatal care. As the pregnancies advance, the needs and comfort of these women will change and ideally they would find housing before their babies arrive. With a housing shortage in the area, that hope may be difficult to fulfill.
As we met with people and filled their requests for shorts, t-shirts, socks and other items, I was reminded how important our support system is. I wish I could share all of the "Thank you" and "God bless you" sentiments we heard. We are grateful for you!
Check out the needs list for our updated needs, contact us with questions!
Please continue to keep the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers.
Karen - Street Nurse/Social Worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - Friday 7-19-19
Volunteering were Larry, Chuck, Barb, Brent, Marj, Pastor Mike and myself. We provided water to nearly 60 people, we were told later that the shelter had a record number of guests for this time of year. We've mentioned it before but the number of people we see is still growing and the number of new people we see out there is disproportionate to the number of long term people we see time and again. We don't know why, there isn't one single cause of people being without permanent shelter and this is unfortunate: if there was one single problem, it would be easier to address and eliminate.
We put a lot of focus on the water we provide. Water is very important to a person's physical and mental health, its a basic need for survival that we can't ignore. Many of the people we serve have no income and going to a convenience store to purchase a bottle is out of the question. Many businesses do not allow non-customers to access restrooms and on weekends, some of those businesses are closed. We provide multiple bottles of water to anyone who comes to us, occasionally a person will decline the bag of food but take water. Water is life. In an area that has beautiful rivers and lakes, water for its residents should not be a need that anyone has.
On Sunday, 7-21-19, I drove through downtown and spoke with a woman that I'd visited with on Friday who is very new to living on the street. She and a companion were sitting in a park with their belongings and she asked where they could go during the day to avoid conflict with anyone or being in anyone's way. I gave her information and ideas and she reminded me that the buses weren't running because it was Sunday. She currently has a mobility concern and is on leave from her job (she'd proudly shown me her work badge on Friday.) They decided to stay put for awhile and see how it went. I'm concerned about her as she has some medical conditions that she needs to stay on top of.
We'd like to thank Eau Claire Transit and a host of other organizations that opened their doors to allow people inside for the air conditioned comfort of their buildings during our recent heat wave. EC Transit provided free rides to the locations and provided safety to many people. Its heartwarming when the community recognizes the need and comes together to provide care.
Thank you for your support and interest! We couldn't do our work without you.
Blessings to all!
Karen - Street Nurse/Social Worker
Street Journal 7/15/19
Pastor Mike and I took bottles of water and beef sticks downtown this afternoon. Many of our friends on the street don’t have easy access to water, and as hot as it’s been, that can be quite dangerous. We handed out about a cooler-full of bottled water. Most of the people we saw we’ve known for a long time and were very happy to see the Street Ministry van pull up, and all gladly took the water when it was offered. I could tell that the heat is wearing them out, no doubt they were somewhat dehydrated. We stopped briefly at the shelter and I noticed that it was cool in there, so at least they have a cool place to sleep at night. Rest is probably the most needed thing for most of the people we serve.
We gave out several bottles of water at Phoenix Park, as well as to a couple people outside of Community Table, and to several people that we knew who were walking downtown.
It looks like the heat isn’t going to end anytime soon. We will be out at our normal times on Tuesday and Friday, as well as probably another day this week to hand out water again. Please keep our friends in your thoughts and prayers thru this heat wave that we’re having right now.
Street Journal 7/10/19
Volunteering this evening were Wendy, Larry, Marj, Pastor Mike, Barb, Brent, Chuck and myself. We served approximately 40 people and provided shorts, t-shirts, and other basic needs for those who requested them.
One of our first visitors shared that he had come from a city approximately two hours from Eau Claire and arrived here to attempt to connect with family. That plan fell through and he found himself without shelter and in need of refills of his medication. He showed me his medication and felt the need to produce his ID so that there was no question that the medications, one of which has multiple uses, were his. We discussed some of his significant and chronic medical issues: COPD and a brain injury among others. We coordinated efforts and he was able to get the refills he needed.
Another visitor was a woman we've cared for for several years and have seen cyclical successes and challenges. She looks good right now, probably the best we've seen in a long while, and maybe ever. She shared what event had occurred to spur her to make efforts to change. She added that the street ministry volunteers were truly her second family and that she appreciated the support, although sometimes the "tough love" we give was hard to accept. She acknowledged that we pushed her to talk about things that she didn't like to talk about but that ultimately she needed to. We pray that her successes continue and that she is proud of herself and her accomplishments; we are!
Another woman we see regularly came to say hello. We noted that her shoes were in poor condition: the soles were peeling away from the shoe and there were holes in the the toes. She initially refused to tell us her size and said that because she was working, she would save up and get her shoes. Her partner encouraged her to tell us her size and eventually, very reluctantly, she said she wasn't sure of the size and allowed us to look at the the shoes she was wearing to determine that. The shoes she was wearing were nearly two inches longer than her feet but she said she had no choices. Because she and her partner will walk to and from work, if necessary, we want to help them with good shoes. The distance is nearly 5 miles and if they are scheduled to work on Sunday when the buses aren't running, they choose to walk. We'll purchase shoes for her over the weekend and get them to her on Monday.
Please keep those we serve and all who are without shelter in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate your interest an support, please check out our needs list and help us care for those in need. Every item available is due to your generosity -- Thank you! Let's keep going!
Karen - Street Nurse/Social Worker