We’re seeing an increasing need for services. Again. We doubled the number of folks we served during the first several months of the pandemic. As of June 2021, we’ve tripled our pre-pandemic numbers. We’re meeting new neighbors, providing supports to folks who recently lost their housing, and assisting those who have managed to get into housing but need help covering the gap between what they make and their basic living expenses.
On Tuesday we worked with 88 neighbors, washing hands, providing laundry resources and hygiene supplies, ordering birth certificates, refilling minutes on prepaid phones, and making referrals to partner agencies for employment, medical care, vaccinations, housing and more.
It was hot. We set up, then set up again to adjust for some unexpected wrenches that were tossed our way. What’s that quote - blessed are the flexible for they shall never be bent out of shape? We’re feeling pretty bendy lately.
Thanks to our team of hard core kindness brokers who continually go above and beyond, we had a field of coolers full of ice, cold water and Gatorade. Two team members spent the evening collecting information from neighbors in order to make referrals for housing voucher applications. We made lists of items folks need (IDs, SS cards, tents, furnishings for a new apartment) and did our best to provide what can’t be bought: hope.
We also kept folks hydrated, offered a delicious meal and continued building relationships. One of our volunteers shared how surprised they were when they first volunteered wit
h us to discover just what a social event our laundry nights are. “I was struck by how safe and welcoming these events are, and how much neighbors and volunteers want to be here.” Growing from 30 people to 100 certainly presents some logistical challenges, and maintaining that safe and welcoming feeling on a larger scale is something we’re working hard to maintain. Our county needs more affordable housing, more gap services and more folks working together to help neighbors in need. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone was loved, fed and housed?
One last happy story shared with us: J told us that one of the CCSO deputies in the area regularly goes out of their way to check on J, and during the most recent heat wave, they gave J a ride in their patrol car so J could cool off in the air conditioning. Small acts of kindness, friends. Small acts of kindness.