Hello UCO Supporter.
We gave out sanitized hand-wipes, facemasks and 130 to 150 to-go lunches outside the gates of First Congregational Church on the last two Sunday afternoons. Our guests are grateful for the PPE and nourishment, especially the cold bottled waters yesterday.
Thank you to members of FCCLB, UUCLB, Temple Israel, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and many others for participating in our weekly food drives. These donations help increase our offerings to people who are homeless and families and individuals who visit our UCO/DAYS food pantry. This week Natalie from Temple Israel donated large volumes of toilet paper, paper towels and Clorox wipes – these items were much appreciated, and someone thanked me by saying that TP was like gold to her.
We have had several notable moments during the past two weeks. With assistance from Catholic Charities, one of our families with three children who are three to 7 years old moved into their permanent home. This family has been in and out of homelessness for throughout the children’s lives and were regulars at our drop-in center and continue to receive their mail at our center. As soon as they moved into their two-bedroom apartment, we gave them some housewares and bedding. One thing was glaringly missing from their second-floor apartment – a refrigerator. The only appliance in the small kitchen was a standalone stove/oven unit. Our client assistance funds were used to purchase a standard apartment refrigerator from Howard’s; and they delivered it free of charge the next day. This refrigerator is a symbol of hope, opportunity, and stability for this family. Now – they can store food, meet their nutritional needs, and move forward to other things like the children’s schooling and employment for the parents.
Another highlight is that our disabled and nearly blind senior moved into her apartment last week. This was a result of hard work and coordination involving ourselves, a local property management company, COA and the City. When this client moved in, temperatures were in the 90s and the apartment was hot. Many stores sold out of fans – luckily, COA staff were able to give her used fans from their donation inventory. We gave this client a new kitchen trash can and small plastic storage containers which will allow her to store and find things easier.
As part of our DAYS/UCO grocery program, DAYS’ Executive Director and volunteers deliver grocery packs on Sunday afternoons to people who do not live walking distance from our center and people who have pre-existing conditions. Yesterday, with her mother driving, volunteer Matea who is 14 years old helped deliver groceries to a UCO client who has severe asthma. Yesterday was the first time that Matea met our client, who had been homeless on the streets for years prior to securing a modest, furnished SRO at the end of January of this year. In July through his persistence and great timing, our client moved into a one-bedroom unit in a quiet, subsidized building. Since then, his life has taken a dramatic turn towards stability. We and his building manager gave him furniture and kitchenware. His SRO manager was so happy for our client that she ordered a bed and bedding for him. When I saw Matea after she had delivered groceries to our client, she was beaming to share with me her delight to have had the honor to meet our client. She was so taken by our client’s sunny disposition and expressive gratitude and was surprised when I told her that he was on the streets less than a year prior. I often share this client’s story as way to highlight that homelessness should not define a person and that no one deserves to be forever stuck and forgotten in homelessness.
For this week’s food drive, we are asking your help in collecting sliced sandwich bread, turkey sandwich meat, spam, other meats in pop-up cans, envelopes of tuna, small peanut butters, pasta, rice and bottled water. As before, donations may be dropped off at the 2nd alley door at 241 Cedar Ave. on Saturday, 10 am to 11 am. Safe distancing will be enforced.
Thank you for your support and compassion.