Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Notes 12/2/2018
While you are aware that the street ministry volunteers are out in the elements with our friends twice weekly and year 'round, I want to share that we are at work beyond those hours. We take calls 24/7 and help our brothers and sisters however we can to help them reach their goals and needs. This last week alone we have been contacted by three separate families and an individual who were in need of shelter along with the other calls for transportation, food, or other needs. We refer to other agencies when appropriate and offer suggestions for people to be safe. It is heartbreaking to tell a mom that we cannot provide motel stays for her and her children and know that they may be left to sleep in their car, this is especially difficult in our current weather. We use a number of considerations when making the decision but often our decision is based on whether we are financially able to help as well if there are any other potential resources available. Your donations help us to provide care to all of the people we serve, whether its during our on the street hours or the off street needs. We appreciate any and all gifts!
Please note that on our needs list, our top needs are long johns / thermal -- bottoms -- in sizes large and bigger and gloves that are XL/2 XL due to the swelling some people experience in their hands from the cold weather. Please see the needs list for additional information. The forecast appears that our friends will be facing some cold weather in the next few days. We could use your help in locating these items or making a financial donation so that we can purchase these items.
Thank you for your continued support and interest. Keep the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers.
- Karen - Social Worker, Street Nurse
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - Friday, November 9th and Tuesday, November 13 , 2018
Friday was a very cold and blustery night on the street. Brent, Barb, Chuck, Larry, Marge and Mariah, our social work student, were volunteering. Our guests who stopped by were strictly focused on finding warm clothing and many of them by-passed the water and food bags we were handing out and went straight to the clothing van. Long underwear, gloves, hoodies, socks and winter coats were the most requested items. Toward the end of the night a young woman stopped by and told us she just was recently discharged out of the hospital. She was severely under-dressed and not prepared for this type of weather. Barb and Marge made sure she received proper clothing. She was accompanied by two men and a woman. The men seemed anxious that the young woman rejoin them. The woman said she had only known them for a short time. Barb took her aside and schooled her on being careful around people she doesn't know and we gave her a phone number to call if she felt she need help at some point. The woman told us she was 23 years old, but Marge said she probably wasn't much older then 16; we have seen young women like her before become targets of sex traffickers. Please keep her in your prayers.
Sunday the 11th was Veterans day. Rex, who works with our ministry and myself attended a free meal at a local restaurant for veterans. We then went over to the local VFW/American Legion lodge in town where they were having a free lunch, giving out flu shots and other items and we talked to some of the folks inside that we knew. They told us that three of our homeless vets came by earlier in the day. We were glad to hear that they made it over for activities because this is one place that would be welcoming and not judge them because of their homeless status and could relate and understand as to what they have been through and currently having to deal with. Now these homeless vets could be with other men and women in solidarity with them and not have to suffer in silence.
Tuesday the 13th was another very cold night out on the street. We put hand warmers in the food/water bags that we handed out. Brent, Barb, Chuck, Beth, Marge, Mariah our former social work student who served with the ministry for three years while in school here and who is now a social worker helped out as well as Mariah and Kelly our current social work students. We were lucky to have so many volunteers out because we handed out a lot of clothing and we were all kept very busy. There wasn't a lot of time to talk to anyone. I did talk to one of the homeless vets who made it over to the VFW lodge on Sunday and he was very glad he was able to attend. We talked about helping him find housing in the very near future.
We are in need of x-large gloves, long underwear bottoms in sizes x-large, 2 and 3 x-large. We also could use 3x and 4x hoodies and 3x and 4x winter coats. We are just starting into the winter months and so we will be in need of winter items until at least March of next year. Thank-you for your continued support of the ministry.
- Mike - Street Pastor - Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - Nov 6, 2018
It was a very windy and cold night on the street. Those serving today were Brent, Barb, Chuck, Dean, Marge, along with Kelly and Mariah, our social work students. It was a relatively slow night out and we served less then 20 of our friends, people were taking their time finding their way to the shelter hoping it might open early. Several people stopped by for warm clothing: jackets, hoodies, long underwear, hats and gloves were the most requested. A few people hung around to talk for a while otherwise it was pretty uneventful night.
Veterans Day is this coming Sunday when we honor the men and women who have served and those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces.
Reflecting back on my time in the service I was taught a number of important rules for life, but the most important rule was: to leave no one behind. The horrors of the Vietnam war were very visible to the U. S. public because it was being broadcast live on television daily and the protests against the war were also very visible at the same time. Plus, we were able to witness many of our returning vets and the cost of fighting in a prolonged war can inflict on an individual.
In today's world, our vets leave and return from war zones almost unbeknownst to the U. S. public and many of them suffer in silence. Over the years our street ministry has witnessed the damage war can cause to our homeless men and women vets, but be rest assured, we will never leave any of them behind.
- Mike - Street Pastor