Street Reach for the Homeless
Monday night featured sloppy joes and french fries. Word of mouth continues to bring new faces and glad I had decided to add another 5 pounds of ground beef to the 18 pounds I had browned Monday morning before leaving for work. Face after face said "this is my first time here" as they came for dinner .... came for tents ..... came for shoes. With each I explain, that first dinner is served and then a second line forms at the van to serve the tangible needs.
While I am typically buying 120+ buns for a hot sandwich meal, Monday night, I bought only 60 as I have served this combination before and more than half will selected to smother their french fries with the sloppy joe and forego the bun. Monday was no different as we reached the bottom of the roaster pan with the late comers who joined us.
There were the usual individual bags of chips and mixed salad for all. Sides included 10 pounds of potato salad, 10 pounds of macaroni salad, 5 pounds of cole slaw, baked beans and 40 fresh bananas (if I brought a 100 it still wouldn't be enough).
The line at the van was looooooooong and I knew the evening news would be well over before I made my way back home. 6 tents were given (5 to new faces and 1 to replace one that fell victim to a raccoon), 7 pairs of shoes - a men's size 13, two men's size 12s, a man's size 11 and 10.5 and a woman's size 8.5 and a half dozen t shirts. Nearly every hoodie I had in inventory went out along with 3 pairs of sweatpants as night time temps have been cooler. 4 sleeping bags along with a half dozen comforters and blankets went to those in the elements. Socks, bug spray, mini flashlights, a few hygiene items, book bags (and more socks lol) rounded out the needs.
Made it home before midnight but after the late news so consider it a win.
Early this morning, I bought 4 more tents, 3 more sleeping bags, 3 more book bags and 3 more pairs of shoes (notice a trend). lol The price tag, less amusing, rang in at $231. That same amount was spent twice last week on top of the cost of meals for ever growing line each Monday and Thursday night.
As I passed through downtown (that "real job" thing) I dropped a bag of men's jeans, women's shorts, shoes, back to school clothes and 4 new sets of full size sheets to the Wayne Township Trustees office for their clothing bank that serves the core of this city along with many of the same faces that I serve. This is a partnership that formed back in 2014 after the unannounced eviction of more than 40 people living in the immediate downtown elements and I honor and treasure this partnership to this day.
A review of my tally since April 1 of this year, reveals......
Tents ........ 127 (average cost $24.99)
Shoes ...... 195 (average cost $10-$17 a pair)
Sleeping Bags ..... 103 (average cost $9-$15)
My finances are strained as my line continues to grow beyond reason and the needs right along with. I ask only when the need out strides my ability to provide and I see no light at the end of the tunnel. That time has come since donations since my last ask in May are loooooooong gone. Your donation, combined with the donation of another, helps me stock the van with the most needed items (noted above) as well as continue to provide the full meals that I serve. Your help answers my prayers..... Your help offers hope to those I serve ...... Your help is appreciated, by all, more than you will ever know!!
Rarely do I come for help but that time has come as we race to replace not only what has been taken but also serve those coming to the streets in the next few weeks as the Rescue Mission's winter contingency plan comes to an end.
Including the two emergency tents given out this weekend, the pair of non slip shoes for a gent who has secured a job, since the first of April, I have handed out 17 tents and 21 pairs of shoes.
It is only April 16th!! That's 17 "homes" for men and women of our community who live in the elements and only 21 pairs of shoes to replace the endless winter boots, all the while knowing many are still retaining theirs until this January in April season thing passes.
So I ask, so I beg, for your help. Your $5 that I can marry with someone else's $5 and once I have 5, I have another tent..... another sleeping bag.....another pair of tennis shoes.
That is all I am asking. $5 today to show these men and women that while Fort Wayne's administration may need to search for an ounce of compassion as they show only their cold hearts, that, as citizens, we care ..... We love .... We are blessed!!!
This morning began with a quick drop downtown of 5 bags of winter coats, hoodies, sweatshirts and some of the winter hats and socks just donated to Wayne Twp Trustee office where a clothing bank is maintained for those they serve as well as those I serve calling the elements "home".
In the course of today, donations have been dropped by Phyllis Strahm (sleeping bag), anonymous donor 2 boxes of much needed handwarmers and Melissa Rinehart and family (comforter, tents, insulated unders and more).
My thanks to all who donated to my gofundme page on Giving Tuesday, to all who have contacted me today with future events and all who have crossed my path with tangibles that warm my heart.
My thanks, today, goes to my unnamed "real job" employer who has agreed to a few hours off Friday morning as I stand at one of the six named eviction sites as an advocate for those who call that site "home" as this city mandates the dismantlement of those very encampments and seizes the property of anyone living there at the time.
Fighting the good fight. Making a difference with your support along the graciousness and goodness of our Lord.
Good golly Miss Molly it was character building to say the least and yet in the midst of the wind….the rain….the less than fabulous small shelter we are now using…..there they were….men and women (new faces and old) waiting for a hot meal or something dry from the van (comforters in nearly all cases). Once we were soaked bringing everything from the van to the “dining area”, I spotted what I believe might be closer parking and using a possibly unintentional “hole” in fencing (where there is a will there is a way so going to try that route on Thursday night when I return.
With the smaller group due to weather we did not pull all from the van. Pulled a total of 4 gallons of beverages but left lugging the case of bottled water behind. Fresh fruit was sacrificed with everyone wanting to finish the remaining 35+ decadent brownies from Thanksgiving night. There were enough beef meatballs in gravy for 40 (my estimate for max I would see with the rain), 10 pounds of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and 8 pounds of creamy mac n cheese for the taking. Went through 3 loaves of sandwich style white bread as each “meatball meal” was served manhattan style on a slice of white bread, mashed potatoes with meatballs and gravy smothering all. Chips were available for everyone and in the midst of it all with wind and rain hitting from all sides but overhead, they ate, we managed and all survived……sigh
From the van, in addition to the dry comforters, came socks and hats and for the very last gent to arrive on bicycle nearly a half hour later, one emergency rain poncho as he had nearly 4 miles of riding to do before he was “home”.
For myself, hair was dripping, jeans soaked through and yet blessed to be able to hop in my van and travel to my humble abode (first thing changed on my end was the wet fleece and sweatshirt as I decided that was top priority). Blessed to have a roof over my head and heat to warm the body. Blessed to have dry clothes to change into. Blessed to take a hot shower this morning as one gent last night took all beverage jugs to hold water as he has none. Blessed to have the support of so many who keep this street ministry alive.
On this giving Tuesday (I passed the giving on this morning and gave to Kellie Hofer) please consider a $5 gift of giving for those I serve…..for those men and women…..who call the streets of this city, their “home”.
Hi my is dave ramsey im having serious issues with my 2 yr old daughter and i have seen the wonderful job on your gofund me i was wondering if u have any tips because my 2 yr old daughters life depend on a machine that the hospital wants to take back thursday and i dont know if im going anything wrong im about to sell whatever i can and have no christmas BECAUSE i dont seem to be able to do this right if u can possibly look over my gofundme account and maybee give me a few pointers it would be highly appreciated it under my facebook the name is kristal david ramsey. Thank you for reading this god bless for what u do for the homless
Does anyone know how to make their donation monthly? I'm not seeing that option.
Bless you for all that you do!
A Donations every month. My updates appear weekly on facebook. thank you for your concern.
No updates in almost a year shouldn't this fundraiser be closed?
I just was to let you know you are a very special gift from God. I know what it is to be in need and have no one to help. So for you to be doing such a selfless thing for the less fortunate is a true blessing to them and an inspiration to a lot of people. You are truly an Angel. God bless and Happy Holidays.
Check out my go fund me if you can. I'd really appreciate it . I'm embarrassed but i have no choice. Bless you all.
https://www.gofundme.com/unAngelennuestrocamino. please donate and share
https://www.gofundme.com/project-integration similar cause.. we are trying to take this both nationally and globally
I think what you are doing is great. Our official and verified organization is doing almost the same thing. We are reaching out to thousands of homeless teens and the elderly. Thank you for caring about your area as we do ours. gofundmeDOTcom/vesct - Please check us out and remove the DOT and replace it with a normal period.
William A Otis, I believe after your first donation they send an email with an option to make it a monthly gift. I don't remember anymore. Sally?