Chippewa Valley Street ministry Journal - Tuesday, March 28, 2017
It was a beautiful evening on the streets of Eau Claire, the sun was warm and bright. As we drove on the street towards the location that we set up at, we noted the area was bustling with activity as people were going to restaurants and entertainment venues and simply enjoying the warm weather. Our evening was filled with our friends in need visiting and sharing their stories, receiving needed items and preparing to settle in at the shelter for the night. There is a vast difference in wants and needs between the people we serve at our location and the people just a few blocks from us who were enjoying downtown Eau Claire.
We served approximately 25 people, our volunteers were Jake, Brent, Chuck, Barb, Greg, Jessi, Mariah, Michelle, Becky, Brian and myself.
One woman had requested tennis shoes last week and we had those available for her today. She was grateful for the shoes and I was relieved that the shoes fit well so that we didn't have to send her away in need. Thankfully, we have been blessed with many donated items and often have the sizes needed. Shoes are less commonly given and therefore we have fewer options, it worked out well today. We also provided ball caps to a few people, not a necessity but an appreciated comfort.
Our website and Facebook page have gained some new followers, we're happy to share our news and stories of the street. We are grateful for the support and gifts we receive on behalf of the people we serve, we truly couldn't do our work without our amazing network. Thank you so much! Please share our information with friends, family and coworkers so that we can continue to care for those in need. A list of our current and immediate needs is available and as always, feel free to contact us with questions.
Thank you again, please continue to support and pray for our friends in need.
Chippewa Valley Street ministry Journal - Tuesday, March 21, 2017
While the sun was shining bright in our eyes, the breeze chilled us throughout the evening. We had requests for gloves and hooded sweatshirts and one person asked and received a pair of hand-warmers. The last time we were out a man requested a pair of shoes. We had them in our storeroom and tonight we delivered the shoes to him, he took them and went across the street to the shelter and returned with a beaming smile and expressed this gratitude. The shoes fit well and he left again, this time with a bounce in his step. It is these moments that I enjoy the most: providing a needed item and seeing the joy that it brings. The people we serve are genuinely grateful for the items that they receive, usually donated items or items purchased through monetary donations. On their behalf, thank you!
Last week I wrote about a man that we've known for several years that isn't homeless but lives a challenged life. He has worked at a local fast food restaurant for ten months, we are very proud of his dedication. This evening he arrived in a vehicle that he purchased that is much more reliable and safe for him and any passengers he has. He didn't need to tell us how excited and proud he was to have this vehicle, it showed on his face and body language.
A woman came to us that I had not met before, Pastor Mike has known her from other visits over the years. She has worked in various management positions in area businesses and has had some "bumpy roads" in her life lately. Hearing her story reminded us that poverty does not discriminate: we've worked with lawyers, nurses, businessmen, teachers and people from other professions that for one reason or another, have found themselves without permanent shelter. Poverty can be an equalizer among different populations.
Please take a look at our needs list and share our news with your friends, family and co-workers. We'd love for more people to know about the Street Ministry and about the work we do.
Thank you for your continued support, blessings to all!
-Karen - street nurse
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - March 21, 2017
I don't have much to write tonight. After a few warm days, tonight--a windy evening in the 30s--seemed rather cold. We had nine volunteers: Barb, Brent, Brian, Chuck, Jake, Karen, Michelle, Mike, and me. The evening was rather uneventful, which I suppose is a good thing. We helped around 20 visitors, distributing food, juice, water, pastries, a sweatshirt or two, gloves, and a few other garments. When we wrapped up around seven, there was a crowd of 25 to 30 waiting to get into the shelter across the street. Many were new folks we hadn't seen before or had only met very recently.
Please pray for, and care for, the poor.
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - March 14, 2017
Thank you for your patience while we were short handed and our journals were sparse. We received many calls and messages of concern, we are extremely grateful for your dedication to us and appreciate the inquiries.
The weather was cool but dry for the Street Ministry volunteers this evening. It was a pleasure to have the bright sun in our faces promising warmer weather to come. Working in the daylight makes a world of difference in the overall feeling of hopefulness for the future of the people we serve.
One of our visitors is a man we've known for many years. He is not homeless but lives in challenging conditions and visits us regularly for little but social support. He beamed with pride when he shared that he has been employed at a his current employment for ten months at a local fast food restaurant. We are proud of him and his dedication and commitment and hope for continued employment.
We had a new volunteer from UWEC with us this evening. She joined right in and helped give out gloves, hats and scarves. When I asked how she was doing, she responded that she found it helpful to be on the street with us to visualize the numbers of people in need and hear their stories. She heard from new people as well as our regulars as well as learned about the ministry itself. Being on the street has more impact than sitting in a classroom.
This evening was my first time back on the street for a month or so and it was good to be back. As I've written before, the ministry volunteers and the people we serve are like a family. There was news to catch up on, laughs to share and compassion to give. I was happy to meet with one woman who had been homeless for years and was transitioned into housing several months ago. She stopped by to visit and update us on her life, she appears healthy and happy;; it was nice to visit with her.
During our absence, we have been working on on some projects that we're anxious to share with you: 1) We're excited to have developed a relationship with a street ministry in India over the last several months. We are in regular contact with them and are learning not only what they do but also about the conditions in which they work and live in; 2) Our ministry has been a successful organization for five years and we would like to assist other groups to organize for social justice issues. Our goal is to help groups develop their own organizations that will care for and advocate for those in need in some manner; 3) We're considering how to expand our service to provide for other needs. We'll be sharing more information in the coming weeks when our plans are more solidified. Stay tuned for more information!
Please take a look at our needs list and contact us with questions! Thank you for your continued support.
Karen - street nurse