Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal October 7, 2020
During the last half of the summer, the street ministry has been working with our homeless friends that are living on the street to inform them of changes that will be coming this fall. The current shelter will be moving this week and will be over two miles out of the downtown area to their new location. We have also been talking with our friends who are not sheltered about organizing themselves for a possible severe winter coming up. They will need to work together if they are to survive; not everyone will have a chance to be housed at this new location. The local bus service that has provided free fare a good share of the year will also start charging again this coming week which will add to the challenge of navigating to the new location along with the dangerous street intersections that will need to be crossed. Currently the street ministry is producing a map along with a bus schedule to help those not housed find their way to the new shelter if they decide to go.
One of the subjects we emphasize when we are with our friends is surviving the Pandemic. Covid-19 is difficult for everyone regardless of their economic situation and we live in an area of the country where the virus has been spiking. The people we serve are on the move much of every day causing them to be potentially exposed to Covid-19 at a higher frequency than many of us. They have to go place to places for food, bathrooms, shelter, water and other essentials. While we encourage hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, the fact is that this practice is challenging due to the lack of facilities. We provide masks and encourage the continued use of them even after we’ve left. Often, because our brothers and sisters are frequently moving from place to place, masks get left behind or misplaced and they are left exposed. Being medically challenged only adds to the risk.
We talk with the people we serve about Covid-19 and other illnesses. Over the years we’ve watched the distress people can be in with illnesses and encourage flu shots and other healthy habits to avoid being sick. Just imagine experiencing a fever or vomiting or diarrhea when there is limited access to bathrooms, medication, or the ability to lay down at will during the day. The street ministry will be working with the health department and the free medical clinic to make sure flu shots are available to those that are living in the homeless shelter as well as our friends on the street.
At the street ministry, we believe the church has an obligation as well as society as a whole to stand with our brothers and sisters who cannot defend themselves and that are at risk. We need to be present and walk with the suffering poor during their time of uncertainty and distress. Please keep our homeless brothers and sisters in your thoughts and prayers.
Pastor Jen is handing out flowers to our guests to brighten their day. A flower may seem a simple gesture
but it’s a special token that many of our friends may not often receive.
We provide a hot meal, as much water as a person wants, Gatorade when available and a small
bag to help manage hunger during the night or next day.