Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, Friday 09-29-2017
We served 43 friends this evening, many in need of hoodies. The change of seasons brings about new challenges for a person who spends much of their time on the street, any additional item means one more thing to carry yet not having the item may mean more discomfort on a chilly night. It may seem a simple decision to us but life on the streets is not easy.
One of our long-time friends arrived and was not looking well. He seemed to have word-find problems, his eyes weren't tracking well and his motor skills were affected. After assessing him the best that we could, we encouraged him to be evaluated at a local emergency room, we did not feel that he was safe. Michelle and our new student volunteer Christina agreed to take the man to the ER, while writing this I do not know the outcome of the event. Please read Michelle's journal for further information.
Barb and I spent a good deal of time talking with a woman who expressed frustration of having a history of domestic abuse and her mind not letting her heal and move on. She repeatedly said she wanted to be seen as a good person and to have better life. We reminded her of her inner-strength that has helped her to survive and suggested she use that strength to befriend others who need support. She appears to not have a lot of support of her own and said she knew that she could share her story with us. She was right: our biggest asset is the time we have to listen and support, unconditionally.
It has been about two weeks since we sent out an urgent request for help for the dad with three kids who were faced with living in their vehicle. With the generous donations we received from you, we are able to continue to assist him with their needs. We are providing support and guidance with the ultimate goal of obtaining affordable and permanent housing. I assisted him with obtaining and submitting a housing application for the city of Eau Claire, we're hopeful that housing will be available through that agency however he continues to seek out housing through various independent entities, as well. We encourage daily check-ins with us to keep us up to speed with progress or challenges. The children are safe, healthy, and doing as well as can be expected in this situation. The family and the street ministry are grateful for your gifts and communications with us.
Please read the following quote, it'll might make you think about those in need and our roles in relation to them:
As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.
- Elie Wiesel
Thank you for your interest and support, we are grateful for you. Feel free to contact us with questions!
-Karen - street nurse & social worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry 9-29-2017
Met a new lady at the van Friday evening. She had been referred to us by the King's Closet. She told me she was living alone for the first time in her life. She was delighted and grateful to receive a bottle of water and some snacks along with a few clothes.
After she left I noticed one of our friends sitting in a chair. He seemed confused and unsteady. After consultation with other volunteers we decided he should be examined at the ER. Christina and I accompanied him and he seemed surprised we would stay with him for that ER visit. After getting checked out he was released about 9:30pm and we got him a bite to eat and delivered him to the shelter. I am grateful for the hospital staff who showed such compassion and concern.
Later that evening I ran into another street friend who had left her things in someone's car and was unable to get in touch with them. She was anxious and cold, and worried about a place to stay overnight. She was unable to get into the shelter overnight. I was able to find a couple of blankets in the back of my car, and we talked about some of the places she might find to get some sleep.
It's very difficult on the street, especially for women, and especially now that the weather is getting colder.
We are grateful for your prayers and your gifts and support.
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal Friday, September 8, 2017
Its been awhile since our last post, I'm finally compiling some of my notes for the last week or two. Please read and share!
A young woman staying at a local shelter with her children had a birthday last week. We chose to acknowledge her and her children with something a little special, she has no friends or family since losing her mother in May 2017. We provided her with a few cupcakes and a card, she was extremely grateful for the attention; her oldest child was grateful for the cupcakes!
Over Labor Day weekend, several volunteers spent time with a young woman we've known for over two years. She has been away from Eau Claire for a few months and is facing some very difficult decisions. She considers us family and is very attached to a couple of the volunteers, she finds great comfort being with all of us and the stability we provide. I have a definite soft spot for this young woman as she has taught me more than she knows: the value of unconditional support, the importance of checking our judgments and biases at the door, the importance of understanding how stress and living without permanent shelter can cloud decision making. She did not have the luxury of a "normal" childhood, she was trafficked by her mother at an early age and left with untreated trauma of those experiences and the lack of positive relationships. She has children but admits to not knowing how to be a mother, it is more a matter of day to day survival. I am so incredibly grateful to know her.
Two other women we've been caring for over the last many months have not visited with us, they have significant mental illnesses and their absences are concerning. While we understand we cannot solve their problems, we would like to know that they are safe and being cared for.
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in need. Thank you so much for your interest and support.
-Karen - street nurse and social worker
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal Friday, September 8, 2017
Tonight was a calm, pleasant evening--clear skies, the sun slowly setting, and the temperature in the upper 60s. Barb, Brent, Jake, Mariah, Pastor Mike, Sharon, Wendy, and I were all volunteering.
We helped, by my estimate, 34 people, and distributed water, snacks, pastries, socks, backpacks, a denim vest, and other assorted necessities. A woman, now in an apartment, came by and talked about how grateful she was for all the help she has received from many different organizations, including the Chippewa Valley Street Ministry. She is now back on her feet. A second woman came by a little later with a similar story. Although she is still staying in the shelter, she has housing lined up and expects to be off the street soon. She, too, was very grateful. A man who works for a company that sets up tents and canopies for large events was talking to many of the homeless. His company needed temporary workers for an event and was recruiting. I wish I had more to write, but mostly I was just busy handing out water and bags of snacks.
Please pray for, and care for, the poor.