Monday, May 2nd, at the Drop-In Center

Kristen came to the drop-in center today for the first time in a couple of months. When she walked in, we hugged and she said, “Thank y’all so much for singing happy birthday to me. It meant so much. I’ll never forget it.” Her birthday was months ago. She hasn’t been around due to health issues. She got frostbite when the temperature dropped rapidly after a storm one day. Her socks and shoes were wet and she couldn’t find a warm place to stay. When she mentioned birthdays, I told her that my daughter’s birthday was today. Later on, I wandered upstairs and heard someone singing in the bathroom. When Kristin came out, she said, “I sang happy birthday for your daughter while I was in the shower, and I meant it too!”

Margo heard about us from some other women and visited for the first time today. She loved the lunch that was served. When Rachael, our college intern, asked her if she would like some makeup, she said that she had only worn make up once and seemed timid about it. Racheal offered to help her. Margo chose some makeup and Rachael applied it for her. While all of this was going on, it looked like tears streaked Margo’s face but I couldn’t be sure. She loved the pretty pink eyeshadow and FaceTimed her mom to show her. Rachael caught Margo on the front porch as she was leaving and told her she was glad to have met her. Margo hugged her and began to sob.

At the end of the day, one client said to me, “You know what y’all should do? Y’all should have a slumber party one night!” We all cracked up and she didn’t understand why. I explained that a client said the exact same thing last week and I told her what my response had been. It makes me wonder if some of our women associate slumber parties with positive childhood memories or if they are just looking to get a basic need met – shelter for the night. No matter, their suggestions point to the childlike spirit that is in each of us and I have to admit that a slumber party might just be a little bit fun.

In all, 25 women came to the drop in center today. So many women are making appointments for other services that we are fully booked this week and already making appointments for next week. With such rapid growth comes an even greater need for volunteers. If you have availability on weekdays, even if it’s just an hour per week, please reach out! It really does make a difference. Also, with growing numbers of women, less people are able to provide a meal. If you can help with a meal or simply contribute towards a meal, please contact us. We would never be able to serve the women without so much support from our wonderful community!


Thursday, May 5th, on the Streets

As the Lisieux Community grows (on a seemingly weekly basis), we have more and more opportunities to take women to a variety of appointments, ranging from medical visits to obtaining IDs at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV.) In fact, by the end of most Mondays at the drop-in center, we have a full calendar of appointments for the upcoming week. I’m grateful for these chances to help women along in their journeys. I find that simply being with the women during these appointments provides them with another safe place - a place to be heard and to feel comfortable sharing what is on their minds.

Earlier this week, I was able to take two women to different appointments. During one of the van trips to an appointment, a woman shared with me her progress in obtaining a more independent level of permanent housing. As we drove past different houses and apartment complexes, she pointed out the ones she really liked and talked about how she can’t wait to have a quiet place of her own with a front porch.

One of the other resources Lisieux offers is helping women navigate the process of getting an ID from the DMV. What I’m seeing more and more is that the women need assistance advocating for themselves in situations like these, especially when it comes to communicating their needs to different agencies. I find that advocacy is not only being a voice for a woman when she needs it, it’s helping her learn how to use her own voice.

Tonight, Whitney, Maureen (one of our volunteers), and I went out on the streets a little early, due to inclement weather. We passed out 14 care bags to different women, which was more than we expected to see out in the rain.

One woman, *Colleen, asked us to keep her in our thoughts and prayers, as she makes some decisions about what her next step will be in getting off the streets. After we gave Colleen a care bag, a sleeping bag, and a rain poncho, she directed us to a location where she'd just seen several other of our regular women. Despite whatever struggle she is currently having, Colleen always does her best to be helpful.

We also connected with a new woman tonight, as she was walking to take cover from the rain. We first offered her a rain poncho, which she was hesitant to accept. As we started to roll up the window of the van and drive away, the woman called out and said that yes, she would like the poncho. We gave her a care bag as well. It is understandably difficult for women on the streets to trust someone they don't know, and this is an example of that.

Building trust and relationships with the women is often a long, slow process, and I'm so grateful for the relationships we've built so far at Lisieux.

- Rachel