I met a man who is new to Eau Claire and who seems to be struggling. He reports having multiple serious medical conditions and needing treatment and medication for his ailments. After going to a local ER, he's in a holding pattern as far as treatment goes until his records are received from his previous doctors and hospitals. He had nothing to speak of in terms of weather-appropriate clothing and only a plastic grocery bag to carry his things around. We outfitted him with a backpack, a hoodie, gloves, and a hygiene kit. He needs more things but is concerned about carrying large amounts of clothing from place to place. He needed some assistance in figuring out where to go or who to contact in regards to changing medical benefits from California to Wisconsin. He'll have to contact the social security office for his Medicare and will need to establish with the county to apply for Food-share benefits as well. These tasks are made more difficult with no phone or transportation. We talked for quite a long time, by the time we'd gotten him settled with the few clothing items that he'd take, he had tears in his eyes and thanked me over and over again for our just being there and being willing to listen and help him. Really, I should have thanked him for sharing his story and trusting us.
Barb, Deb and I spoke with a woman who is trying to get to a community that she claims is about 40 miles from Eau Claire. She had a lot to tell and we struggled to keep up with the twists and turns of her story. The woman deals with high anxiety, she has a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication but the medicine is in her cousin's apartment and she's had a falling out with the cousin. She experienced physical violence at the hands of the cousin and does not feel that the cousin will allow her in to get her medication or her other belongings. For now, she'll stay at the Sojourner House until she's able to get a ride or pay for a ride to the next town, she says she has a friend there.
I did not get a chance to visit with too many other people, I saw the other volunteers interacting with many old faces and several new faces. It seemed that most people were requesting hoodies or the lightweight jackets we'd brought with. Looking at the temperatures for the rest of the week, we'll need to restock those items for Friday.
Pastor Mike and I went to meet with a woman who works in Chippewa Falls where she advocates and cares for the homeless there. It was a very positive meeting, we felt we gained another ally and offered support to her as well. We occasionally drive through Chippewa Falls at night looking for people in need, its reassuring knowing that there is help and the people there have a solid resource.
All in all, it was a fairly routine night and that's okay. Our people do not need any more stress or drama in their lives, calm and routine is probably best. As always, thank you for your interest and on-going support.