This morning when Maggie opened the building about a dozen people were waiting – waiting for heat, waiting for coffee, waiting for someone to ask how they were.
When we got a few inches of snow two weeks ago, the same folks were waiting outside the door when Hugh and I arrived. They weren’t sure we would be open, but they came anyway. They were counting on us, which is why Hugh drove us 10 mph through town, sans coffee, to get there.
So what happens on days like today, when we have to close early because of bad weather? Well, a few things:
- Women can stay in the Healing Place or the Salvation Army.
- Men can stay at the South Wilmington Street Center.
- Our friends who don’t feel comfortable in crowds will retreat to their tents – or a motel room if they’re lucky.
- We pass out as many hand warmers as possible.
- We encourage people to make sandwiches to go. Not all emergency overnight facilities provide meals.
- Maggie drops a car load of folks at shelters & camp sites.
- We spend the rest of the day & night worrying about our friends who are outside, and the ones who won’t be able to eat while inside.
On days like this we leave discouraged and preoccupied. We have done all we can within our means, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Building comfortable homes for our friends wouldn’t be enough. Putting them up in the Hilton tonight wouldn’t be enough.
I guess you just can’t ever do enough for the people you love.by