A Community in Action (May 18-24, 2020)

As the virus and the economic consequences of it continues in their twin assaults on our community, and the poorest among us are thrust into ever more desperate situations in increasing numbers. One can easily become disheartened. After all the effort, money, and time expended, the HHH waiting list continues to hover at 128 people. Are we having any effect at all When we entertain such thoughts and trepidations, listening to our friends on the street quickly sets us straight ,the commitment of our community continues to strengthen our resolve, the determination of our faith groups to pour on the prayers, their never-ending works of mercy and miracles, blesses us with new resolve.

This week a pregnant woman sleeping between a building and a dumpster was sheltered. A couple living in a truck with a five-month baby girl can now bathe and care for her. A woman with four children sleeping in a broken-down car that only runs a few minutes at a time now can lay them down in a warm bed. The father of three teenage girls fearing for their safety can sleep in peace. A single fellow living in a state park who was going to work exhausted, is now rested. A guy in his sixties out of money with no place to go that would take both him and his dog, now can live indoors with his best friend. You have assisted a disabled veteran by extending his stay in a motel when his money ran out. A nursing mother was allowed to join her family. Two men who have experienced long term homelessness were given a reprieve. A couple living in the woods that were evicted by the landowner have been relocated. A fellow whose afflictions prevent him from doing well in a motel requested and was given a tent. The tears and pleas of these folks have been replaced by gratitude and a sense of hope. Thanks to all of you, the caring supportive people in the Saint Cloud area.

Look what you have accomplished this week. You provided 843 motel stays to 133 people including 23 children are now living in five motels. You have assisted in securing funding through the CDBG-CV grant our city reallocated, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds grant, grants from the Campaign for Human Development, the United Way, and the Central MN Community Foundation. You also donated $5,814 in individually donations. $300 from First Presbyterian Church was also received this week.

The people in motels are being fed by you three times a day. Place of Hope provided 696 evening meals this week Central Minnesota Catholic Workers, St John’s University, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, and St Joseph’s Church in Saint Joseph provided 375 meals to those in a motel we are using in St. Joseph. Lunches and breakfasts in Saint Cloud were provided by the Salvation Army, the school district, Neighbors to Friends and the Quality Inn. The following churches and community groups provided volunteers to deliver all these meals, First United Methodist in Sartell, Bethlehem Lutheran ,Joy Christian Center, St Joseph’s in St. Joe, the Newman Center, St Cloud Prepper Pals, St. Michael’s, St John’s Episcopal, Baha’i Faith of Central MN, Neighbors to Friends, Central MN Catholic Workers and many individuals. Talk about a Community coming together to meet a Challenge.

In addition to the motels 177 hot meals were served at Lake George. They were provided by HHH, Neighbors to Friends, Catholic Workers and Kwik Trip. Sleeping bags, mats, tents, gas cards, clothing, bus tickets, games, toys, teddy bears, and toiletries were provided to those in need. Neighbors to Friends and Catholic Workers provided hundreds of dollars in laundry

If you could see the faces of those who have received motel accommodations, if you would compare their current condition with that prior to their entry, feel their reduction in stress , sense the relief from fear it would be evident that your efforts are having a tremendous effect. How dare we become disheartened when so many in our community continue to give so much time, effort and money into feeding and clothing these folks, Yes, there has been no reduction in the waiting list but that does not imply the we should close it. Doing so would abandon future mothers, fathers, children, vulnerable adults, the ill and suffering to the hideous life they would have to endure on the street. Thanks to all of you for helping.

We can use a few more volunteers to deliver meals. We also need tents sleeping bags, tarps, for those still outside. If any of you know of any cash paying day jobs, there are a lot of folks in the motels eager to work so that they can start saving for an apartment. Funds for deposits and apartment application fees, will become more necessary as our friends transition into more permanent housing. Please share with us and our community leaders any innovative ideas you have for housing all these people after the pandemic.

Donations can be sent to:

Homeless Helping Homeless
PO Box 475
Saint Cloud 56302
Or contact us to make a delivery at:
Phones 612-868-0465 or 320-309-2952
Email: hfleegel@aol.com
Website: homelesshelpinghomeless.org

Community happens when we realize that everyone of us are helpless at times, and that everyone of us can help in small ways at times, and we decide to get together at those times. God bless you all. -Harry, Mary, and Troy