PLEASE HELP ~ Whichever Way You Can

It was 25 degrees in Olympia, Washington early this morning when I went out to get the car started. The front window was thick with frost, in fact they all were. The sky was dark and ominous and I felt it was no time to be outside in the bitter cold weather. I left the motor running to warm up of its own accord and quickly ran back into my glorious warm house. Brrrrring all the way. It must have been all of five minutes total that I was outside and I was bone chilled cold. (What a sissy I am, I admit it.)

My mind quickly wandered to thoughts of those poor homeless souls who are sleeping somewhere here on the Westside of Olympia in Yaegar Park amongst the trees and brush, in makeshift shelters, in doorways or other places where homeless men, women and children go to try and find warmth. Such sadness, especially as the cruel winter winds begin to blow and the holiday season approachs. They are just trying to keep warm, all with hopes of getting through another day. Bless them all.

In 2009, 102,000 people faced homelessness in the State of Washington, compared to 87,000 in 2008. Our slumping economy has introduced brand new faces to homelessness that would never have been imagined 10 years ago. (And don’t even try to stereotype the homeless. It’s not what you think. It could be ME. It could be YOU.)

Our city, like so many communities nationwide, are trying to address this problem, utilizing whatever means become available. Unfortunately, there never seem to be a big enough dents made in solving this crisis. I can only speak for the efforts here in Olympia, where we have a wonderful pro-active group who have been helping the homeless since 1988. It’s called the “Thurston County Housing Task Force” who meet monthly at our public library and work tirelessly the rest of the month.

TCHTF MISSION: “It is the mission of the Thurston County Housing Task Force to preserve and create affordable housing, prevent homelessness, to restore homeless persons to stable living environments, to promote community awareness of homelessness issues and to promote programs that provide a healthy atmosphere to needy families, single women, single men and youth through creating community supported shelters and ensuring the provision of vital services.” How noble is that?

It is the purpose of this task force to:
•Promote community awareness of homelessness and broader housing issues.
•Share information among housing and service providers.
•Coordinate and combine local efforts in housing.
•Prioritize local housing needs and responses.
•Seek community resources to advance the creation of programs which use community supported services to provide a healthy atmosphere to persons at risk or experiencing homelessness.

My participation has been comparatively small, mostly through monetary donations, boxes of books and other items which are then made available for resale to raise funds for various projects. As a regular contributor to the Thurston County Food Bank, and as a volunteer at the Thurston County Medical Bank, The Thurston County Furniture Bank (through donations mostly gathered from Freecycle and OlyReuseables), and the Union Gospel Mission, I have seen some happy faces as a result of these efforts.

Oh how I wish I had the means to do more, especially locally. Hopefully we will all do what we can, with what we have available to affect even small changes. Please watch for opportunities to help those who can’t help themselves, for whatever reason. Treat them with dignity and pray for every one.

Consider Your Many Blessings
Then Do All You Can To Pay It Forward.


One response to this post.

  1. Lauralee, very insightful and inspiring essay. Good writing on an ever-increasing subject…especially in this economy.


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