The Thomas Fire, the flue and street culture – Week 468 at Many Meals on January 3, 2018

It’s worthy to note this week begins our tenth year of serving our homeless population in Santa Paula.

There is no question the compromised air quality for so many days has exacerbated the opportunities for the flue and serious colds to invade the homeless population. The Drop In Center today was a good place for quarantine, but we carried on.

Several of them are starting to come back to the office around closing time asking if they can stay in the store room. I can’t start that. Cold temperatures are on us and the warm days cause them to lay down the blankets they got from us the day before. One of our regulars wants us to call 911 almost every day so she can get a warm night’s sleep at the ER. She insists of one test after another. It’s not working.

Almost everyone is coughing, choking and all that goes with the cold season–including all the volunteers. I learned something today.

We received a generous amount of generic pain relievers and cold medicine from our grocery store pickups. It is tempting to share them with those are congested and feverish, and I know I’m not a physician.

A number of our known addicts will sell them to other addicts as some kind of new street drug. If we decide Ibuprofen is in order, it will be two at a time and they can take them in front of me.

We completed our second week of Care Pod Showers. A total of ten were served this week. I’m hoping more will come on Friday and take advantage of a visit with the nurse from Ventura County Health Care Agency and Las Islas Mobile Clinic.  It’s the most wonderful program.

But, it does solve the problem of homelessness. Only housing will solve that. This takes educated leadership and political will.  Don’t see it yet.

I also learned that selling food stamp cards is common. All they have to do is set  a price, share the PIN number and they have cash for drugs. I need advice on this one if anyone has any.

Due to my own cold for days, this will be a short missal.

Menu tomorrow is barbecue beans with plenty of bacon, lettuce salad with fresh tomatoes, rice from El Pescador, cooked carrots from Garman’s Pub, rolls and butter and beautiful navel orange slices.

Thank you to all of you. Happy New Year sounds so trite, but I long for more peace and kinder words among us, more patience and a greater willingness to listen.​