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What is IT?

What is IT?

I am a baby boomer.  Yep, that’s me.  I grew up in a different world than the one we live in today.  Born in 1961 in Tacoma with an eventual move to Everett.  Living in a home with 3 children and 1 parent working – which was more of the norm back then.  We didn’t have a lot, but we seemed to have enough and we were for the most part happy.  We helped others when we could; we respected authority, went to church and believed in the golden rule.  I suspect many boomers can relate to this, and that is why I’m finding myself spending more and more time lately, wondering how IT happened?  When did IT happen?  And more importantly, can IT be stopped or are we on a path of no return?

So I’m guessing that you are probably wondering what IT is?  Well, I will do my best to describe IT.  First off, for the purposes of full disclosure I want you to know that I really, really don’t like IT.  I don’t support IT and, God willing never will.  Although, I do have to admit that for years though, I would turn a blind eye to IT and simply pretend I didn’t see IT or perhaps just misinterpreted IT.  I felt justified in doing so feeling that I was busy, raising a family and that IT was someone else’s problem.  I suspect countless others have felt and done the same.  But as I’ve gotten older, I have learned that ignoring IT only makes IT grow stronger.  That IT seems to feed off of your indifference, and your silence, much like IT also feeds off of your fear.  And the more fear there is the larger and stronger IT gets.  And the larger and stronger IT gets, the more power IT has.

IT has quietly been recruiting and building since I was a child.  IT has taken on many forms over the years and you can see IT everywhere once you start really looking for IT.  IT is at schools; in our government; at the mall, in movies and TV.  IT is in our books, on the internet and sadly enough IT is in many homes.  IT has now made inroads into our daily lives to a point where we now notice if IT is not there.  IT has infiltrated everywhere and now IT is recruiting at what seems to be breakneck speed.  IT always wants more and is never satisfied.

By now you have probably figured out for yourself what IT is.  We all, each and every one of us are responsible for IT and we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, exhale and look in the mirror.  Ask yourself this question, “What have I done today to stop IT and make my community better”?  Think for a minute.  Do you have an answer?

Working with the Homeless part 2

Working with the Homeless part 2

Outside of my apartment, there is a cold shelter in the Church across the street. As I was preparing to leave, I saw an older woman standing outside of the church. She seemed very confused and bewildered. She looked at me and yelled out “Hey, can I use your phone”.  At first reaction, I wanted to not let her. She seemed dirty and I had no idea where she has been. All humans feel this way, it should be a natural reaction to how we judge our environment. With that being said I put my first feeling aside and decided to help her make some phone calls. After informing her that I was already aware that the shelter was closed, I tried to help her make phone calls. It wasn’t successful because later on, I found that they were all closed because it had to below 32 degrees for them to open.

I offered her a ride down south to the local Walmart. This caused me to be quite nervous. Bringing someone into your vehicle having no idea what their intentions are. I asked her if I had anything to worry about. She said no, and I trusted her. As I was driving I asked her how she became homeless. She was stuttering and I felt maybe it was asking too much. I told her she didn’t have to answer any of my questions, and she decided to not to answer. It really was too bad, because I was curious as to she got to where she was. I later found out she is 67 years old, and has been living on the streets she said for some time, and she looked like it. She smelled like she had been on the streets.

She informed me that she wanted to go to McDonalds. I took her there and offered her a Mcchicken. She seemed very pleased by the food she already had, which was just crackers. I was looking on my phone to see if there were any homeless shelters in the area. There were none when it was above 32 degrees. I asked her if she had any way of receiving social security. She said no, and the main reason being that she didn’t have a mailing address. I continued to go down to Wal- mart (which is where I originally had intended to go). I thought she could stay near there for the night. It’s hard to tell a human being of her age that they will have to spend all night near a Wal-mart. I asked her what I could get her. She asked for some ginseng tea. While I was shopping for the items I went in for, I picked her up a couple cans of tea plus some water. I left her my business card and asked her to call someday so we could figure out the social security situation.

She gave me a hug and was super thankful. I was happy to help her and hope to hear from her soon. I spoke to her about possible street feeds and clothing drives the COTG organization may have. Hopefully, we can hear from her in the future. The streets down south in the Everett area, Seattle area, and Bellevue area can be brutal. I hope she can stay safe in these situations, the Everett area has been known to be extra hard for the homeless. People turning to drugs like Crystal meth just to stay up all night and be vigilant of their surroundings, so they can prevent being robbed or worse. I’ve been told about how street life goes in different cities, and how not all homeless are welcome. I am not talking about some government ordinance (though that plays a part), but the homeless in the area build a community that feed off of each other for survival. Not all are welcome. If you have no family, no community, no money, what do we do in these scenarios? What are we supposed to do with the elderly? How long will they survive outside? These are the questions I am left with.

She seemed to not have any drug problems. Her face looked worn from weather but not drug use. I bought a six pack of beer inside for myself and offered her one before I left. She rejected it. Nobody with a bad drug or alcohol problem would ever reject a beer in that situation. She had some money with her too. Maybe 5 to 10 dollars. This made it clear she wasn’t outside due to impulsive behaviors like drugs or alcohol, and she was very capable of managing herself to a certain degree. So how do people end up outside? These discussions have been going on for years, we hardly ever come to a conclusion. What I do know is that the problems are there and the local communities need to look into this more closely. I leave this post with questions, because I do not know what to think, and I do not know exactly what to do.

If any of these posts interest you please check out the Garden Alliance, and Church of the Gardens websites, and facebook pages.

Working with the Homeless

Working with the Homeless

On Saturday, February 11th, 2017, I went for a visit to see some of my friends down South. Allen Acosta (minister of governmental injustice-COTG), took me to his street feeds that he helps out at. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. There were volunteers at 8am starting their portable grills with an impressive amount of batter, eggs, water, tortillas, cheese, fruit, and oil. All of this went to preparing a warm plate of food just down the road from a warming shelter in Olympia. It was ice cold. So cold your fingers would start to go numb. Of course, I was the only one who appeared to have this problem, everyone else was so busy preparing food you’d think by the smiles on their face they were on a vacation. People had prepared food for nearly 200 hundred people. Not only was there a hot plate prepared bu there was one dedicated man who made what seemed to be almost 100 meatloaf sandwiches! They looked delicious, and there were other forms of portable food they could take for later on. What incentive do these people have? They didn’t have much besides the fact that they care about the community. Allen informed me that these people were here no matter the weather, and it happened more than once a  week every week. Incredible I thought! There were children serving people who looked as if that meal was the best part of their entire week.

 

Allen Acosta Minister of Governmental Injustice; Avery Hufford President, and David Olive Advocate

 

My hope is that the Church of the Gardens organization (member of Garden alliance) can recreate what I witnessed up north. I am going to continue to go down south to join them and bring more resources for them. They informed that their operation was existing on a prayer and people’s unadulterated altruism with supplies and tools that looked all to over used. I thought to myself what if these had just a little more help from the community, what if people were to put a little more effort and resources into building projects like these ones. The communities in our area are struggling in the area of the homeless. We can discuss all day what causes homelessness but after all the arguments have been said and done we need start building up our communities by just putting the care and time. Hoping for a better community one that all of us can directly help in. Allen also informed me that local city ordinances are working as counter forces against their work. I didn’t see them interrupt it though because as I was informed, crime in the area has gone down because of their services. It gives people hope and gives these people a sense of community. Why would they sabotage the community working for them? Hopefully, the good work they do will continue and we can build our communities stronger in this manner. One day the Church of the Gardens organization will strive to build something like that.

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