“The test of love is in how one relates not to saints and scholars but to rascals.” — Abraham Joshua Heschel
I don’t know the author of that statement, but I would like to know what prompted him to write that. We will be passing out Valentines tomorrow to our guests at Many Meals in honor of the day.
I understand what it must be like for missionaries who come back to the US after serving in third world countries. They return to their former homes with new perspectives on first world problems. They have to adjust to the myriad levels of conversation of the day, the influences of advertising and commerce, the abundance of every conceivable commodity and the waste that goes with prosperity.
I feel that way often when I attend a banquet, a community meeting or celebration after spending a day with people on the margins of life, who expect a lot and give nothing. Others expect nothing and believe the life they live is as good as it can get.
Of late, I am jolted in the morning hours at the Drop-in Center by the pungent smell of wood-burning smoke in the clothes of those who have slept under the 12th street bridge where they build fires to keep warm. It’s not the pleasant smell of a campfire or that of oak wood in the fireplace. It’s sharp and penetrating. They promise every day to be at the new One-Stop on Friday, provided by the Ventura County Health Care Agency, where they can see a nurse, take a hot shower in the Care Pod, get clean clothes and visit with various health and social service professionals. Soon they will be able to get a haircut, thanks to Shea who works at Tisa’s Salon here in Santa Paula.
Daily life like this is damaging. It soon becomes their normal and out of sadness and depression comes the influence of drugs and alcohol. What comes first is different for each one. For some, it was the military first, then the alcohol. Others it was job loss first and others it was broken families. For some it was drug and alcohol use which turned into a sour and reckless life.
Whatever the story, Someone has to love them into wholeness. It’s hard because some want what they can get from us. Others often beg for help but want me to do the hard work of sobriety. They are the only ones who can do that part.
Ruth Sullivan called me this weekend begging me to help her find a place to live. She is 76 years old and has an income of $1200 per month. She is living in Oxnard and renting a room from a family who is being evicted. I have stressed over finding her a place. Today Connie De La Rosa, from Catholic Social Charities, called to state she has a room for rent in Oxnard and wanted to know if I knew anyone. Isn’t that great? They are meeting up tomorrow. One more off the list, but it’s a long one.
The threat of rain is hard on food rescue. Not sure to make the trip and risk drenching or wait it out. I long for an enclosed refrigerated van if anyone happens to have an extra one.
Food Share’s Pam Castro called today with dozens and dozens of five gallon containers of ice cream. Hard to turn that down but we have no place to put it or distribute it. One would be okay but not 100. Imagine someone over-making that much ice cream.
Fundraising – Susan Kulwiec has taken on the taken of helping me write grants for our work. There are so many out there but we have a very specialized service and population. You can help if you will designate SPIRIT of Santa Paula when you shop on Amazon. However, you have to enter through http://www.smileamazon.com.
Homeless Seniors: We are close to getting approved for one homeless senior, over 62 with a documented disability being approved for a special Section 8 housing voucher. Background checks are not their friend. It’s hard for someone with those three attributes to have lived an impeccable life. Many people have written letters of support. We will know for sure this week. If you pray about things like that, please do.
The Count of Homeless Persons 2018 event sign-up page is on the Volunteer Ventura County website. This activity is an education in itself. You will be safe and with us. Please click this link to volunteer. Training will on Saturday, February 18, 2018 at 9 am. You can volunteer at:
Free Eye Glasses: Thanks to the amazing work of the Lions Club and the cooperation of members at the Church of Christ, free exams and prescription glasses will be given on Saturday, Feb 17 from 8 am to 2 pm at Santa Paula Church of Christ, 276 W. Santa Paula Street. Call Ken Ary 805.201.5929 or Al Learn 805.525.8566. Tell someone.
Tomorrow’s menu is beef and cheese casserole, rolls, buttered cooked carrots, romaine lettuce salad and tomatoes with orange wedges. It’s hearty and delicious.
Tune in next week for “Dying in the Streets With Your Rights On.” Redefining “gravely disabled homeless.”
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the volunteer director of SPIRIT of Santa Paula. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. website is http://www.spiritofsantapaula.org.
Address is 113 North Mill Street, Santa Paula CA 93060.
“Serving the least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in our Community.”