02 July 21
As June rolls into July and our women have to start dealing with the heat of summer, we want to say how grateful we are for your willingness to support the work we do. The drop-in center is not only a haven for the women for at least one afternoon a week; it is also a place where the women are connected with resources to help them reduce their vulnerabilities.
Monday, 28 Jun 21, at the Drop-in Center
It was about a month ago that I asked the women what they wanted to eat that we had not already received at the center and the answer wasn't "soul food" but the description certainly was. Today we had white beans, cabbage, neckbones, and cornbread, with peach cobbler for dessert. As we pick up the women the first question is, "What are we eating today?" To a one, their faces lit up when I told them what was coming. And there were seconds and thirds. And, of course, after a shower and all that food, there were naps. We missed a lot of our regulars so we prepared to-go boxes and took them down the street. I wanted them to know they were missed. There was more excitement.
We don't tell the women what they need to do and, as they begin to trust, they see something that has been missing in their lives. We had two ask for info today about changes in their lives. The initial ask is just a first step. We provide them with our number as well as a list of emergency numbers to facilitate change. Both seemed pleased to accept.
One of the women here today was a new friend. We went to another area to pick her up, one where she felt safer. I let time slip and missed our appointed time. She doesn't know us well enough to believe we will follow through. When we have survived trauma, we are waiting for someone else to let us down. She was able to accept my apology and enjoy the afternoon. Baby steps.
So grateful for our volunteers. They were amazing today. Our volunteers are what keep us going anyway, and today they filled in wherever the need was. I am sometimes running different directions and it is gratifying to know I can count on others to do what is needed.
Whitney is out this week and we missed her today. We won't be accepting clothing and other in-kind donations until next week. We have too much going on to be sure we can follow Whitney and get things done correctly. If you have something to bring, please consider bringing it T - Th next week between 11 and 3. Thank you!
Please continue to remember us in your prayers. We enjoy every minute with the women, and we are sometimes struggling to make time work. The women are our hearts and we covet your prayers for them and for each person who makes this happen.
Thursday, 01 July 21, on the streets
Yikes! We go out at about 4 PM, and today at 4 the sky opened and there was a gulley washer! I sat for a few minutes waiting for it to quit, knowing that the women would have gone to whatever shelter they could find. A couple of women called asking where we were and if we would come to a specific place. So we did find a few on the west end of Summer. We found no one out on the east end. Everyone we saw was so grateful. As I began to write this a woman rang the doorbell to ask if we had any food and I was happy to be able to give it to her. I will keep bags in my car for the next couple of days to see if I can catch anyone we missed today.
When I was growing up in the country, we sat on the porch or the kids played in the yard in the late afternoon. Sometimes lots of adults would gather to visit. One of the places we see the women is under some trees, out of the sun. It is not as hot and they visit with one another. One night recently, one of the women was sitting in the group and a man hit her and stole some of her possessions. When the blood spurted, everyone was skittish. Had it been one of us who have many options, we would have gone to the emergency room to have our lip sewn together. We probably would have filed a detailed report with the police. I wish I had seen her earlier than I did so I could have taken her but by the end of the next day when I saw her, the wound was already dry and healing had begun. (It will be a long healing because it was hurt severely.) People on the street often will not make a detailed report. They don't know whether to trust that they will treated well. fairly. They also know the saying, "Snitches get stiches." I never took that seriously until I began this work. I know now that it is true. It hurts to see someone you love mistreated. It hurts to see her hurt. Send prayers for healing please.
I got to see one of the women we have been looking for today. And I was able to ask about another of the women. I was relieved to know they were both safe.
Again, thank you for walking alongside us. Please continue to remember us in prayer. Sometimes it's hard to trust. Lately, I've caught myself saying, "This is simple but not easy." And it is.