Sandy M., Pastor Mike and myself. Our visitors started arriving right away at 5:30pm and it remained steady. Approximately 35 people were served, three of them being new to the streets of Eau Claire. I wonder if there will ever be a time that there won't be homeless people in this community, is there anything than can be done now as well as long term to end this struggle so many people are facing? One of my professors told me once that the best way to end homelessness is simply to provide homes, but are we willing to do that?
We had some very special guests this evening. Mike had received a message from someone saying that she and a friend had daughters that had raised some money ($200!!!) for the Street Ministry and they had purchased some items we were in need of. The writer wanted to know if they could come down and donate the goods. Yes!!! Out into the rain came two girls, one ten years old and one nine years old, with their families tagging behind. The girls shared that they had made Rainbow Loopy bracelets and didn't sell them but rather would give them away and would accept donations for their wares. They'd gone to their churches, Altoona United Methodist Church and St. James Catholic Church in Eau Claire, they'd went door to door and other places to offer their bracelets. They were incredibly dedicated to their goal and ultimately had collected a good amount of money. The girls purchased much needed backpacks as well as other items off of our needs / wish list. I cannot convey how impressed I am and truly grateful I am to the girls for their efforts. If two young girls can orchestrate this, what can adults do? Our support for the ministry is nothing less than incredible, I am aware of that fact every day. These girls made me stop and wonder: what else can I do? What else can WE do? Be inspired!
The young woman who told us she'd been raped last week was back, I discussed the need for her to seriously start looking for stable housing for the safety of herself and her children. She agreed of the need, I believe she is completely overwhelmed with life and that if she would participate in some type of counseling for the years of abuse she's endured, that she would be better for it. Until she's ready, my talking about it doesn't do much good. She does know that she can trust us and sees us as one of the very few constants in her life.
Another one of our regulars, an older adult compared to most of the people we see, was ill an was on her way to be evaluated at a local hospital. She has some health conditions that she tries to manage but at times, its difficult. Being homeless is difficult without adding on the stress of a chronic condition and age being another factor. I pray for her well-being and a quick recovery from whatever is ailing her.
A number of items were given out including about six backpacks and five hoodies, some socks and hygiene kits. Its clear that the summer is winding down and we're going to need to swap out summer items in the vans to hoodies and warmer wear before too long.
Thank you so much for all of your support and continued interest in the Street Ministry, we are all grateful for all you do and know that this is a team effort. Please continue to pray for those in need!