THANK YOU FOR ALL THE CUPCAKES AND TENTS!
We had hundreds of beautiful cupcakes, many awesomely decorated, for our birthday party. Everyone had as many cupcakes as they could possibly want, and we even left a few for the gang at St. Francis House. It rained, as it did for our first birthday party. I had a few wistful thoughts, thinking of that party. There were so few homeless people then that we were a family, gathered on the stage of the plaza. I even forgot it was a ‘homeless event’ as we circulated around talking with one another. It was like any family party.
We also got in some wonderful tent donations. We have not met our goal of a tent for everyone, but we’ve made a start. Give us a tent if you can.
This past month at Home Van Central was quite a challenge, in ways connected to our mission and also to what the old Vermonters called, ‘the deefugilties of life.” More deefugilties than usual. But we got through it and we’re all still here. The month kicked off with a sharp and ongoing spike in the number of people coming to eat with us. For the first time in years, we ran out of food, twice, before everyone had eaten. When I brought my paperwork in to the food bank, on how many people we served each week, I mentioned that a 20-30 person spike looks bogus – it isn’t supposed to happen that way – but that it truly had. They told me that every group walking through their doors were telling the same story – a sudden, large and sustained spike in the number of people coming for service. We have increased the soup we take out from 5 to 7 gallons and also increased sandwiches, eggs, granola bars and, when possible, fruit. The spike is still having an impact, though. Before late September, we gave out a lot of seconds and even thirds, and some people took food for their lunch the next day. Now we have to pay attention and be less generous.
MYLAR EMERGENCY BLANKETS
We are now accepting Mylar emergency blankets for the winter. They can be bought, in small quantities, at WalMart or Sports Authority. There are an abundance of places online that sell Mylars in bulk. The best deal I found was at http://www.medicalsupplydepot.com/Professional-Supplies/Patient-Comfort_2/Emergency-Blankets.html?itemNSId=10252?utm_source=nextag&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=datafeed&utm_content=10252 where you get 120 mylars for $85 and no shipping or handling fee. There are many places where you can get 10 or 20 packs of Mylars and they are all pretty good, except stay away from Amazon.com. They are over-charging. Thanks to your generosity last winter, I have a startup supply. Pat and I are going to do a little Mylar drive-around at 5:30, since the temps will dip into the 40s tonight. We give out hundreds of these blankets over the winter. They are waterproof, can be carried in a pocket, and keep people actually warm, since they work by holding in body heat. They are a great blessing.
It is sad to realize that we are going into another winter with many hundreds of people living out doors. I can remember thinking in 1997 that this could not go on much longer – that a situation so cruel and barbaric would surely be addressed soon. Cold night shelter can accommodate a small fraction of the people who have no home. I fear that a recovery, if there is a recovery (anyone out there feel recovered?) is not going to include the poor and homeless people, who are not even a part of the discussion.
The Home Van’s annual Christmas party for the homeless community will be on Thursday, December 20 at 6 p.m. next to downtown plaza, in the little parking lot on the east side of the civil courthouse. As most of you know, the community makes Christmas stockings for the homeless people. We used to collect these stocking in advance, but the number of people involved has become so large, we have no place big enough to store the stockings, so people have been actually bringing them to the party. People who can’t do that, can come by Home Van Central, the day of the party, or a day or two before if necessary, and we will put their stockings in our hauling van. Here is how you make a Christmas stockings for a homeless brother or sister:
Buy a pair of white sweat socks. Roll one sock up and put it in the toe of the other. Fill the stocking with Christmas goodies and tie it off. Suggestions for filling the stockings include: chocolate bars, Vienna sausages, reading glasses, pens, stamps, envelopes, small stuffed animals, small notebooks, paperback books, candles, batteries (double and triple A) gloves, over-the-ear caps, scarves.....
One important caution: Do not put money in the stockings. Money is wonderful, but the problem is, if some people get money in their stockings and other people don’t (as would be the case), it is just too painful, especially since Christmas comes at the end of the month when no one has a dime.
love and blessings to all of you,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, bug spray,Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, batteries, and games. Call 352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com/
THE HOMEVAN IS A PROJECT OF CITIZENS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, INC. (FDACSREGISTRATION #CH35643). A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE.REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.