Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, Friday 11/29/19
The weather has been a big story over the last few days and will continue to be a consideration for traveling for a few more days. We hope that if you traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday you made it to your destination and returned home safely.
I overheard a couple of men that had come to visit with us lament that the weather was not going to get to fifteen degrees, this is the temperature is when the shelter opens up additional space for more guests. Other people requested sleeping bags and/or blankets in anticipation of either not getting into the shelter or voluntarily stepping back so someone else would have a better chance of getting a bed.
The requests for thermals and coats continue and thanks to your donations, we were able to meet all of those needs. We were also able to provide one man a 5X coat that he'd patiently waited for. That size of any article of clothing is difficult to find and often the person has to wait until its donated or we find it to purchase.
We're entering the season of giving. Tuesday, December 3, 2019 is actually Giving Tuesday. Please keep the street ministry in mind when you choose an organization to donate to for end of year giving. Our work is done with volunteers only and we rely on your donations to purchase and provide items that are not donated. Volunteers are out working with people at times other than Tuesday and Friday evenings: calls are received and people are cared for during the night and items needed for safety and warmth are provided. Food is given when someone is hungry. These interactions, along with our usual visits, are important and special to the person in need. In addition, our rural ministry requires funding and donations to care for people in need. Please consider donating to the street ministry in order to keep these important visits going. We accept checks checks sent to:
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
PO Box 51
Eau Claire, WI 54702
and accept Paypal donations by using the links on our webpage and/or Facebook pages.
Thank you for your interest and support. We appreciate you and wish you the best this holiday season. Please keep the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers.
Karen - street nurse/social worker
Chippewa Valley Street & Rural Ministry News:
The street & rural ministry has recently learned that the storerooms we are currently using will be repurposed within the near future. We are now looking at options and locations for relocating. With this message, we are asking for your assistance by giving us ideas of locations as well as describing our needs.
Currently we are using 3 rooms, but can be flexible in where we moved in to. We have a refrigerator and a chest freezer that we will be bringing with us as well as multiple shelving units. We are looking for a place that will be approved for food storage and will have accessibility for volunteers during and after normal business hours.
This change in location will also affect our process for receiving donations. Because we rely on donations to support our work and care of the people we serve, it is preferable to have a location that is welcoming and easily reached by community members.
The street ministry receives goods from area restaurants to distribute, and for this reason, a sink to wash the food bins in would be appreciated.
We're including a few pictures to visually describe the space we need:
While we appreciate the stability our current location has provided over the years, we look forward to securing a new location and continuing our service to people in need. Please contact us with suggestions of locations. Thank you, as always, for your interest and support.
Chippewa Valley Street & Rural Ministries
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, November 8, 2019
Out on the street were Marj, Barb, Larry, Brent, Martha, Bailey, Pastor Mike and myself. It was chilly but we know there will be colder temperatures to come so dare not complain, its just the beginning of the season and we have the luxury of going to warm homes and beds. For us, managing the weather is a perspective. To the people we serve, its management for survival.
We provided many thermals, hoodies and jackets for our visitors. Other requests were for boots and wool socks and thanks to your donations, we were able to provide for nearly all of the needs. We've started giving out hand-warmers to help take the chill out of fingers and hands. Additionally, on the days we're not doing our scheduled visits on the street, volunteers are canvasing the area during the night to check on people's safety and provide necessities. There's no denying it: the cold weather is here and the people we serve are at risk for cold related injuries and illnesses. Our goal is to provide items for safety and comfort in their already challenging situations as well as our much needed and appreciated social support. Exposure during the last winter resulted in frostbite and loss of fingers as well as damage to toes and feet that lasted well into the summer and fall.
The chart below shows how long skin can be exposed to certain temperatures before resulting in frostbite. Considering that many of the people staying at the shelter walk everywhere they need to go and often have exposed skin, they are definitely at risk.
The shelter is unable to care for everyone in need due to policy and safety standards. That leaves a number of people at risk for being outdoors overnight and at risk for cold weather related problems. With the available forecast, we are very concerned for the safety of those we serve. With the number of people needing shelter increasing at what appears to be a steady rate, our concern rises.
Please keep the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers. We'll be updating our needs list and appreciate your help with keeping the people we serve warm and safe. Thanks for your continued interest and support!
Social Worker/Street Nurse
Chippewa Valley Rural Ministry
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry is expanding! Due to the level and expanse of poverty that our area holds, we feel the need to spread our service beyond the street. As we've mentioned in our journals, Eau Claire County is second in the state for poverty. The Street Ministry has been caring for people living in poverty for over seven years -- on and off of the street; we believe that providing care and comfort to the people living beyond the city limits is the right thing to do. Living without adequate food, water, clothing or shelter isn't just unfortunate and difficult, they are social justice issues that need to be addressed.
Chippewa Valley Rural Ministry will travel outside of the city and into more rural areas that have been identified as having greater needs. We are currently working with a family who is living in extreme conditions and are confident that we can assist others with their basic needs. And as with the street ministry, we will utilize a ministry of presence: simply knowing someone cares and will listen provides a great deal of comfort.
We are anxious to start this journey as we have believed for some time that we could and should do more. Stay tuned for our journals and more information!
Click the following link for a story by Julian Emerson on homelessness in the area and what the Street Ministry does to help: https://www.facebook.com/notes/julian-emerson/group-offers-assistance-of-many-kinds-to-people-who-live-on-the-streets/1994105920692439/