Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Walk With Barb

This past Friday, Veteran's Day, was my birthday. Being on the board of directors for Our Peaceful Place, I can sometimes feel a bit disconnected from the work Barb does- almost like my few hours a month, necessary as they are to support Barb's work, are like paying somebody else to do my charity for me. After the dinner in October, my son and his "friend who is a girl" decided they wanted to be a bit more hands on, but they're young, 7 and 8. So I decided for my birthday, I wanted to see what Barb did for myself- we invited along myself, Ted, my wife Shannon, my son Christopher, his friend Julia and her parents. At the last minute my parents also showed up, with three more cousins in tow, for a group of 10 lost little ducklings following along behind Barb.

It was raining heavily- so it was hard to find the type of people who needed our help. In bad weather, homeless people try to find someplace dry to hide, and with the way poverty has become criminalized on our society, they usually don't want to be disturbed. But right away, we found a group of teenagers. I thought they weren't homeless at first. They looked like any other group of teenagers enjoying a night on the town. But Barb led off- asked them if they needed socks. A couple took the socks, so we offered the peanut butter sandwiches my wife had made earlier that were in Christopher's backpack. Those were a hit- so my mother took out the loaf of bread and tuna salad she had mixed up earlier, and started making tuna sandwiches.

After that, we crossed the street and went under Burnside Bridge, where a few people were settling down for the night. We found one very nice couple- he just wanted to sleep, but she was very interested in additional clothing. But when he heard "tuna fish sandwich" he perked right up. We handed out some clothing there, and moved along. Next we took a walk up towards where the day shelter used to be when Sr. Maria was alive. It now appears to be a bar of some sort, but was closed, boarded up, so we took a left and went down towards Voodoo Donuts- where we found a young lady with a small dog and a sign "I can't remember the last time I was warm". We bought her a tea at Voodoo, gave her some sandwiches, and gave her some extra clothing to keep her and her little puppy dog warm.

On the way back, we found more homeless men, and gave out a few more socks and sandwiches- one had some candy and gave it to the kids.

It was an awfully large group to take around, and a large group probably scared some people away, but it was a good experience. What Barb does, is important. Please visit our website and become a monthly donor. If we can just get back to 88 people in our sustaining circle, giving an average of $25 each, we can balance the budget and let Barb continue doing more of what she does.

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