Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal March 21, 2023
We're nearing the end of one season and will be transitioning to the next season soon. With that change brings new needs, new problems, and we hope, new answers to old problems. It has been a long and hard winter for the people we serve and many are worn out.
During one of our recent snowfalls, a man came to us in desperate need of boots. He reported that he'd walked without proper footwear for a significant amount of time. While volunteers were gathering boots, thermal socks and other needs, we snapped these pictures. He said he'd checked at a nearby thrift store but his size was not available. He denied losing feeling in his feet and they did not appear to be discolored. He did report significant pain with the cold and was very grateful for the socks and boots.
This gentleman arrived with only flip-flops on his feet.
Boots, wool socks and other supplies were provided.
We've been consistently serving approximately 40-45 people each time we're out. We know we're not seeing every unhoused person in the area: there are people that don't come to visit with us and there are several others that are hunkered down in spaces where they are unseen and unheard.
While we strive to provide for anyone in need, the individuals staying outside at night are of the greatest concern to us. There are people that are not able to shelter for various reasons and are left to be out at night. When the capacity is reached at the shelter, people are left to find their own spaces and they often are required to move from place to place to not violate any ordinances. The lack of sleep intensifies mental health symptoms and worsens the overall health of those we serve. The community does not have enough beds to shelter our homeless. While adding beds would be an immediate help for safety, the cause of the homelessness also needs to be addressed. While we've seen some positive change in our twelve years of being in service, none of this has changed significantly or rapidly enough.
Each time we're out, we provide for safety and basic needs. We provide for weather related needs such as coats, mittens and gloves, boots, etc. We also provide food, water/Gatorade and hand warmers. All items are provided without question or any requirements. We often talk about what we do but most of you haven't seen what we do. We've included a few photos to share:
This van contains clothing, boots, gloves, coats and a variety of other items.
Brent and Lynn are gathering up items to provide to a visitor.
Steve is taking a break from preparing bags to visit with people.
Bags of food,water and Gatorade are ready to be picked up.
Please keep us in mind as the winter season comes to an end and you do your spring cleaning. We'd be happy to take winter clothing donations in order to be ready for next winter.
Thank you for your continued support. Together, we can care for our brothers and sisters in need.