Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal -October 26, 2021
The requests for warmer clothing are increasing each time we go out. We've been providing lighter coats and hoodies now as when winter sets in, the heavier coats will be needed. Soon will come the thermals/long underwear and heavier gloves. We're blessed to have the ability to adjust to the needs of our homeless friends and the weather -- all because of your generosity! Thank you for your support of our vulnerable community members.
The local parks restrooms have recently been closed for the season. There are portable toilets at some locations but the closures decrease water sources even more. We've heard all summer that there is no place to go during the day, this hasn't changed and will be more of a concern when the weather is cold all day, every day. There is no shelter for the daytime or for overflow at night and the cold weather will be here until early spring. Some people have the ability to take a bus and get a cup of coffee somewhere to wait out the day; others can't do that and must find a place where they are safe, warm, near a bathroom, have access to food and water, and not considered to be loitering.
One generalized myth about the homeless that we enjoy dispelling is that homeless individuals don't work. We were approached by at least four people that are working full time and have been doing so for some time now. One individual is working in a manufacturing facility and has saved money in hopes of finding an apartment. He's frustrated with the minimal options that are available to him but he isn't giving up. Another person was telling us that she is from southern Wisconsin and found this area to be far more to her liking than the large city she's from. She's working full-time in healthcare and the joy and pride she expressed was palpable. Her eyes lit up; she displayed much care for the people she works with.
We're expecting it to rain this week, please keep our brothers and sisters and their safety in your thoughts and prayers. Being cold and wet is not a condition any of us would welcome for ourselves. How can we as a community find this acceptable for anyone? We need to work together for better conditions.
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry - Staff
Picture from October 25, 2019. Homelessness in the area continues.
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - October 10, 2021
The weather is definitely indicating that we're headed to autumn. Darkness comes sooner, the sun isn't beating down as it has been and the evenings and nights are much cooler. This is a favorite time of year for many people but for someone who is unhoused, this shift of weather begins a period where more day-to-day planning has to be done to be safe.
We are grateful for the donations we're receiving. We are looking ahead at expenses and will need funds to cover food items that we provide each time we go out and for items not donated but needed. Please consider a monetary donation to assist with those needs. Our needs in the winter are always greater than in the summer. Because of your generosity, we've been able to provide care for some of our community's most vulnerable population for nearly ten years. No donation is too small, all are appreciated. Thank you for your consideration.
One of our visitors told us about being at the shelter during the day to do his laundry and feeling like he knew a young woman that was also there to do her wash. He said there was just something that felt familiar about her. He finally talked to her and discovered that she was actually his daughter that he had not seen in nearly twenty years and she had been a toddler at that time. He was joyful at the experience and was able to get her contact information to keep in touch.
Over the course of the last month, more than two dozen people in the homeless community have tested positive for the Covid virus and some of our own volunteers have been ill with Covid. We appreciate the care provided through area programs to keep our brothers and sisters safe while they recover. Local agencies have been providing testing on site at the shelter as well as providing information about where to obtain vaccines. We support those efforts by encouraging our visitors to participate in available programs and provide a mask to each individual each time we go out. Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
A man approached our tables last week and asked what we did and said that he was new to being on the street. We gave him food, water, and Gatorade and started asking if he needed clothing or a backpack. He took a few things and with tears in his eyes, he thanked us for what we had helped him with. It is important that you know that your donations very often make a huge difference in a person's life -- to the point they are brought to tears.
We continue to hear our homeless friends report that there are limited bathrooms and water sources for them during the day. The bus transfer station has relocated so the portable bathroom that had been available is now even further away and across an even busier street. Soon it will be cold and resources will be even harder to obtain. We have no answers for these concerns and that is frustrating for those in need and for us; not being able to provide for a basic need is unacceptable.
Please continue to keep our community's unhoused members in your thoughts and prayers. Get involved, ask questions, and provide suggestions.
Thank you for your continued support! Blessings to all --
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry - staff
"The task of anyone who wants to uphold intellectual and moral values is not to speak what they regard as truth to anybody — the powerful or the powerless — but rather to speak with the powerless and to try to learn the truth."
--- Noam Chomsky, (born December 7, 1928, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American theoretical linguist whose work from the 1950s revolutionized the field of linguistics by treating language as a uniquely human, biologically based cognitive capacity. Through his contributions to linguistics and related fields, including cognitive psychology and the philosophies of mind and language, Chomsky helped to initiate and sustain what came to be known as the “cognitive revolution.”