I don’t particularly like reading super long blog posts so am splitting my experience with the Street Angels into several parts.
After we crossed over into the city, it was a whole new look and feel. Street Angels have a Facebook page that a lot of their “friends” (I’m using this name now, instead of calling them homeless) use cellphones when they can get a WiFi signal, to get updates on where they will be or if they have a specific need. Crazy huh! Great, but crazy!
At the courthouse we met a lot of friends. They were happy to see us, and we gave out a lot of socks! Interestingly the Street Angels have to divide what they give out, they rotate each time they go out. They are on the streets 3 nights per week. Last night the friends on the Southside of town were able to get any supplies they needed, blanket, socks, batteries, both triple and double A’s are requested, hoodies, jackets, shoes, etc. When we went to the Northside they were offered socks and underwear, and a hot meal. Of course when we came across the young man that only had shorts on, and the couple from the last stop who didn’t have anything, they received warm clothes and blankets. They do this because #1 the truck is only so big, and #2, blankets are in high demand and run out fast. Socks are offered to everyone, and most take them.
Shelly sent me this picture, of the bus before we left filled with supplies, and after we got back, we gave out a lot of supplies!
There is a huge community of friends that live under the freeway in tents. When we stopped to give them dinner one gentlemen talked about the need for tent locks! Makes sense, you work hard to acquire your belongings, only to have them stolen! This is where I saw more woman than on the Southside. I can’t imagine the struggles women have, for hygiene and safety! I asked Shelly about their safety and she said the men look out for them.
We walked up to the courthouse lawn, where there was another big tent city! We helped an elderly women open the zipper on her tent so we could hand her dinner. She said she couldn’t come out at that time. I learned that she didn’t want to go back to a shelter, she hated it.
Shelly then introduced me to the friend that lives up at the end of the square. He’s elevated on a landing, so he can see everything that’s happening in MacArthur Square! He was an interesting fella, his tent was surrounded by booby-traps! He was very proud of those traps! And such a nice man! I wondered what his story was! Maybe a past veteran? He definitely knew how to stay safe.
The picture of the sign that had MacArthur Square hours listed is brand new, just placed there this week. Which to me implies that the city wants them out! They have no where to go! Where will they go?
Part #5 up next.