THE JUNE SURPRISE
For a long time about 100-150 people have been coming to Home Van meals, with the numbers rising as we go toward the end of the month. In June we went on our first driveout of the month and 225 people showed up – more than usual out in the woods and a really big crowd downtown. I hoped it was an anomaly since we are on the outer edge of how many people we can serve. We are the Home Caravan these days, with Liz McCulloch’s car fitted out with the socks boutique, candles, mylars, bug spray and batteries, and one or two other cars carrying volunteers who cannot be crammed into the van itself.
It was not an anomaly – every driveout since has been enormous. These last two driveouts we were saved from running out of food by a church group that showed up. That won’t be true every week and I’m considering strategies for coping with this situation. It is a terrible thing to have to turn hungry people away. If anyone out there would like to make a few extra sandwiches for us and drop them by, that would be welcome. Peanut butter sandwiches would be fine, just don’t use crunchy peanut butter since a good many people have bad teeth or no teeth. Extra fruit and boiled eggs are also very helpful. You can give me a buzz at 372-4825, or email me, about this.
The buzz down at Bread of the Mighty Food Bank suggests that many groups are experiencing a big rise in numbers. I am puzzled by news reportage that things are getting better, homelessness is down, employment is up. We just aren’t seeing it. I heard through the grapevine that a local trailer park evicted 17 people recently. It all adds up. People who are evicted from their homes have no choice but to go downtown – what else can they do – stand around on the sidewalk somewhere? For some people, a bench on the downtown plaza has become home.
Phoenix Rising, a new group in the community is partnering with the Home Van. This past week several of our egg boilers were out of town and they showed up with 15 dozen boiled eggs and some other items as well. Phoenix Rising is an open community who meets twice a month and are interested in spiritual growth and community outreach by working with existing organizations. Their contact information is email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am getting many, many requests for tents from people who are desperate to the point of anguish. Last week two young women, one about six months pregnant, came by to get my last tent. the young pregnant woman didn’t speak at all – she just stood on my steps looking permanently stunned. Her friend chatted with me, expressing much gratitude. I realized that this scene has taken on a kind of ghastly normality because I have experienced it so many times.
I am hoping that there might be a group out in the community – maybe a group connected to a band – who could do a big tent benefit for the homeless community. We really need to have a hundred or more tents in stock to cope with this situation, and in reality I rarely have more than five or six tents available and often I have none. If anybody could organize something like this, let me know.
Many thanks to all the people who have brought us bug spray and water. This is the worst mosquito season ever out in the woods, so I hope people can continue with this outreach.
Thank you for being there for us – so many of you, so often. That’s how we keep going.
Love and peace to everyone,
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.