The Homeless Count and entering Year Number Nine – Week 419 on January 25, 2017

Today was the homeless count in Ventura County. This year the count will be on more than one day if there are food pantries and congregate meal programs. Accuracy is important in this work because Federal funds come to the County for services—however, they fail to find their way into Santa Paula. But that’s another matter.

Three wonderful people assisted this morning. All returned safe and sound from their search admitting the task was enjoyable and revealing. One man from Ventura took his time strolling from the park by the post office, down Main Street to Ebell Park. He spotted a number of homeless and spent some time with each one. Doesn’t get better than that.

At the Welcome Center this morning, we had 19 homeless people sign-in, or so I thought. One of other questions on the survey is “Where did you sleep last  night.” When I asked Harvey  that question, he said, “What do you mean?” I said, “You are homeless right?”  He said, “No way. I get lonesome and I like coming here.” Nothing like a blessing of unintended consequences.

Our regular Welcome Center hostess is Marie and she was ordered off for two months by her doctor. Due to sporadic showings of various helpers, someone I did not expect to help me with this task stepped up. His name is Howard Stephen. He too was homeless for a time and stayed at our winter shelters back in the day.

I’ve learned that we grow a little every day and some days maybe even die a little. The awareness of growing and maturing does always reveal itself until we look back and see where we were. Howard has brought his skills as a government inspector (organized and by the book),  honed by his own street-wise savvy, to be just the right host at the Welcome Center.

He is viewing “community service” in a very different way and recognizing his need to be of service. He is now modestly housed, but not cold or wet when the weather changes. It’s a joy to watch someone discover the best of themselves when they think they can’t. Particularly when it’s in the name of Someone he has come to love. When you see him, give him an “atta boy” if you would.

The Ventura Downtown Lions had a bash on Saturday and found about 125 quarter-pound Kosher all-beef hot dogs left over. Joey Siddens delivered them to me, along withi the super-sized buns. We will serve those in the dining room next week.  I so appreciate people thinking of us when the leftovers need a home. We also quiz on food safety, just so you know.

I had planned for fish sandwiches for the dining room tomorrow night but discovered that someone has given away 100 Groton halibut breaded cutlets. That is not a good surprise… so for the dining room we will serve some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with fresh buttered carrots, fresh melon, and pasta salad. For the take-outs, we will serve bean and cheese burritos, carrots, rice and fresh melon.

We have so many teens and younger helping at Many Meals. It’s a safe place to teach service. I continue to learn myself.

Thanks for the  memories, the support and the continued high level of service.

 

 

 

Today was the homeless count in Ventura County. This year the count will be on more than one day if there are food pantries and congregate meal programs. Accuracy is important in this work because Federal funds come to the County for services—however, they fail to find their way into Santa Paula. But that’s another matter.

 

Three wonderful people assisted this morning. All returned safe and sound from their search admitting the task was enjoyable and revealing. One man from Ventura took his time strolling from the park by the post office, down Main Street to Ebell Park. He spotted a number of homeless and spent some time with each one. Doesn’t get better than that.

 

At the Welcome Center this morning, we had 19 homeless people sign-in, or so I thought. One of other questions on the survey is “Where did you sleep last  night.” When I asked Harvey  that question, he said, “What do you mean?” I said, “You are homeless right?”  He said, “No way. I get lonesome and I like coming here.” Nothing like a blessing of unintended consequences.

 

Our regular Welcome Center hostess is Marie and she was ordered off for two months by her doctor. Due to sporadic showings of various helpers, someone I did not expect to help me with this task stepped up. His name is Howard Stephen. He too was homeless for a time and stayed at our winter shelters back in the day.

 

I’ve learned that we grow a little every day and somedays maybe even die a little. The awareness of growing and maturing does always reveal itself until we look back and see where we were. Howard has brought his skills as a government inspector (organized and by the book),  honed by his own street-wise savvy, to be just the right host at the Welcome Center.

 

He is viewing “community service” in a very different way and recognizing his need to be of service. He is now modestly housed, but not cold or wet when the weather changes. It’s a joy to watch someone discover the best of themselves when they think they can’t. Particularly when it’s in the name of Someone he has come to love. When you see him, give him an “atta boy” if you would.

 

The Ventura Downtown Lions had a bash on Saturday and found about 125 quarter-pound Kosher all-beef hot dogs left over. Joey Siddens delivered them to me, along withi the super-sized buns. We will serve those in the dining room next week.  I so appreciate people thinking of us when the leftovers need a home. We also quiz on food safety, just so you know.

 

I had planned for fish sandwiches for the dining room tomorrow night but discovered that someone has given away 100 Groton halibut breaded cutlets. That is not a good surprise… so for the dining room we will serve some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with fresh buttered carrots, fresh melon, and pasta salad. For the take-outs, we will serve bean and cheese burritos, carrots, rice and fresh melon.

 

We have so many teens and younger helping at Many Meals. It’s a safe place to teach service. I continue to learn myself.

 

Thanks for the  memories, the support and the continued high level of service.

 

 

About Kay Wilson-Boltonhttp://www.kaywilsonbolton.netWith a full-time career in real estate, I can add to your bank of knowledge, not only in real estate but in many areas of life that deal with people and relationships and choices. My real estate career has taught me many lessons about planning ahead and looking forward. I believe in helping along the way so that they can be the best they can be in any situation. I serve as a Fire Department Chaplain and Coordinator for the Many Meals Project which serves homeless and hungry families in my community. The event is far more than many meals. As a result of my work with the homeless population in my community, I received the Good Neighbor Award 2017 from the National Association of Realtors and named as a Champion of Homes in 2015 by the California Association of Realtors. I make pastoral visits to the inmates in the County Jail System and offer them what God says about "all things being new" and His remarkable plan for our lives. I have served my community as Mayor and in many volunteer capacities. I serve others by serving God first. My husband is involved in prison ministry and is a graphic artist. We live a simple life in Santa Paula with an office cat named Scout, three rescued poodles and a cat named Tony Diane at home.

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