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Volunteering with Al…cont.

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Please make a special effort to bring in socks this week!  On saturday we are putting together sock gifts to distribute during the holidays — socks with a variety of gifts and treats inside.  We will be meeting up at hemma on Saturday at 1:00 to assemble if you would like to help out.

I was out again this morning with Reverend Al, a very windy rainy morning.  It’s funny how you think about the weather differently when you live indoors — you notice the rain coming down, but you don’t feel it.  Again I was surprised by the number of people who appeared at the various stops we made.  While I was a useful set of hands when it came to handing out coffee, donuts, and warm dry clothing, I was also aware that I was a “newbie” within the street community.

I’ve often wondered how a street person feels amongst a crowd of folks like myself — comfortable home dwellers.  Our worlds are so close yet so far at the same time.  Spending time within this community I can appreciate what it feels like to be an outsider, which in some ways, brings me a little bit closer.  As with any community it’s all about putting in the time.

At our first stop I watched with joy as someone carted off a new custom deluxe sleeping bag that someone had dropped off at hemma the other day.  This joy was tempered a bit when Reverend Al informed me that a bag like that might only last a few weeks to a month tops in weather like this.  “You have to remember that most are not crawling into a cozy tent in their clean and cozy pyjamas.”  “When he beds down for the night most likely he’ll be crawling into a wet sleeping bag in wet clothes and no opportunity to wash or dry any of it.”  I thought about my own sleeping bag that I have had for 10 years stored neatly in its stuff sack in my basement.  None of this means we should give up, it simply means we need to work harder to keep people in warm dry clothes and beds while they are on the street, and even harder to help to find them warm dry homes!

Please keep donating all you can — goods, money, and your time!