Working with Workers

Being homeless brings you into contact with others who are trying to help. That is a positive step, usually. Some of my friends know I recently had a negative encounter with some folks helping the homeless by feeding and offering assistance. Over a few months I came to know the small organization, a group of friends, really. They are nice, genuine people, and my friend that introduced us has been my friend for over thirty years. The negative encounter was over a post I made on my facebook page, seeking some volunteers for them, a few folks to offer financial or physical aid. These people provide a warm meal on Saturday, along with a sack lunch and a few other people gathered donated clothing and would bring those, bread loaves, jars of peanut butter, jelly, dog food, cat food, toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, mouth wash and other necessities. They have been doing this about a year, paying for it mostly by themselves. That means occassional volunteers, but four folks pretty much do it all, and they care for up to one hundred prople. They have done a good job, few complaints, but they were beginning to show signs of burnout. So I posted on my facebook page what I observed of their operation, and what appeared to me to be where they could use relief. I was talking to my facebook friends, explained they could use some folks assistance in simple acts, not anything complicated. They needed a break. My posting caught them in an odd way, and they took my post as a direct attack against them and their work. When I read their replies I was flabergasted. I answered by apoligizing for their mistaken belief I was doing anything other than seeking volunteers for them so they could take a breath. That made it worse, the leader took me to task and pointed out specifics and directly attacked me for my writing against them. Boom. I have written for a living for over thirty years, and I have never been accused of malfeasance, unless I specifically meant to, which I did once in an attempt to prove to sell advertising (and that was wildly successful). So I posted that I do not argue on my facebook page, for them to unfriend me and if we meet on the street to ignore me and walk away. After the two unfriended me I blocked them, of course not my friend, and I wrote a short missive letting the few who read the whole thing know what was up. Those who got back in touch said I had been misunderstood by the others, and they were wrong to attack me. That made me feel better, but this was a first, and I will soon be seventy years old. So, if you are wondering why I am again writing about this, lessons abound in life, and I have learned to try and pay attention to them, to try and avoid repeats. These well meaning folks did not want structure around their attempt to assist. My writing made them fear I was trying or planning on forcing structure upon them. Truth is, they will either accept structure or their efforts will cease. Regulations exist to prepare and prevent problems from occurring and in particular food. They have actually reached that point where they either shoot or go home. Not right this second, but soon enough. The City wants them to have a permit, and have waived that need providing they provide a porta potty. They did, for one month, but no one paid the second month, and it is gone. Leaving the porta potty all week in place was not working, people kept unlocking it, and the folks paying for it only used it on Saturday. It needed to be on a trailer and brought there when the feeding occurred. That was a simple problem with a simple answer. Next would have been the need for hand washing. There was hand sanitizer available. Then there would be the need for food handler permits. Then kitchen inspections and then food cooler and warmers. Do you see where this was going? Maybe these folks saw what I wrote as the first step towards the above, and they decided to shoot the messenger. I would prefer that to thinking my writing was the cause of their reaction because my writing is very important to me, and to lose that control will devastate me. Does the opening title now make sense to you? I see now that the folks efforts will need to, for want of a better phrase, step up to the plate and hit a homerun. I shall draft and file the papers to form a 501 C 3 non profit Corporation dedicated to alleviating homelessness through providing food, shelter and living essentials. I can create a home front, and then various people can find a niche and fill it. I have my eyes on a motel. 36 rooms, plus a large parking lot. It is closed and needs much repair work. I am hoping to swing a way to get it, and use the homeless to rehabilitate it and provide shelter, and food. If I can start it, they will come. Motel Field of Dreams.

Author: gary

I am a retired paralegal private investigator. I live on the southern Oregon coast, USA.

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