Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Busy Morning

On my way to work at 2:00 AM this morn, I received a phone call from Patricia Folds. She is a social worker at our local hospital and also at Eastern State Mental Hospital. She was tired and frustrated because she had been on the phone since 10:00 PM the night before trying to help a man at the hospital get back to Richmond. But since the buses don't run in the middle of the night, she needed to get him into a motel. While she was giving me details, my cell phone battery died. I rushed in to the newspaper warehouse to use their phone. Finally I got her back on the phone and she said, "I didn't think my buddy Patti would hang up on me?!" I explained how most of the motels here are currently closed through the nights due to tourist season being at it's end and how we moved into a home. I couldn't think of any cheap motels for the night for him to go to and the hospital wouldn't let him stay until the bus station opened. "You know I wouldn't call you unless I have exhausted all resources," she said, "but basically you are saying you don't know what to do either?" I felt horrible, but she is right, we don't have many resources here. I hung up the phone and started to get my papers and then thought, "I could get him to Richmond after my route was done." I rushed to get my car loaded and rushed to the hospital (they are also a newspaper customer, so I was still doing my delivery job.) I ran inside and told the intake nurse I had a solution and to get Patricia for me. Just then the security guard and the man who needed a ride came walking out of the ER. I asked him if he was the gentleman needing to go to Richmond and told the security guard if he could wait in the waiting room until I was done with my route (2.5 hours,)I could drive him there. Patricia called me back to her office and I explained to her and she was thrilled. After bumming a dollar for a soda, I left and rushed through my route. Shortly later, as I was racing down Richmond Rd, throwing my papers, a police officer called me on my cell, "Patti is that you I just passed, speeding along Richmond Rd?" Keep in mind, my whole route, the speed limit is 25mph so for me to be doing 20-25 and throwing papers, that is racing. "Yes, how did you know?" I asked. "You are the only carrier I see driving with your hazards on, dome light on and come to almost a complete stop at each throw. (chuckle) I have a homeless person we need help with. He needs to get to..." "Richmond. Yes, I already have it handled. He is at the hospital waiting for me to get off work," I explained. So of I raced to finish my route.

Then around 4:00 AM, my boss called me to ask, "Gotta a question for ya. So, how much do you help people? I mean do you help get them a place to stay?" "Basically we do everything. I had to go over to the hospital for a case just as I started my route. Why?" So she explained that one of our carriers and his family was burned out of their home this past week. The Red Cross put them up for a couple of nights and their insurance paid a couplke of nights but the motel was so expensive, they couldn't afford it with 3 people working. They lost all their clothing, most of their belongings and essentially have nothing and must start over. "Give him my home number and tell him to call me after he finishes his route," I told her. It turns out he and his father wear the same size and I have several pairs of jeans in our bedroom that we had just laundered for them. His mom wears an 8 and so I jumped on Freecycle to see if anyone had some clothes for her, which I had a couple of replies. His fiance also lost all her clothes and between Jenni and me, we can supply clothing that will fit. I have a few boxes of food for them and will deliver that along with the clothing tomorrow after work. In the meantime, we got theminto the Capt. John Smith Inn for almost $300 a week less than what they were paying. It will be a long haul for them to wait out for the rebuilding of their home. They will be joing us, along with 14 of our other friends (no not homeless) for Thanksgiving and then after, we will be taking 250 hot Thanksgiving meals out to distribute to people in motels and on the street.

Then a few hours later, I received a phone call from a sweet lady who goes to St. Bedes, "Patti, I just read the article in the Virginia Gazette! I am so glad you are still continuing the ministry! This area needs you. So where have you been the past couple of months?" "Well, we moved into a house so we needed down time to unpack," I told her. It turns out she is part of a knitting circle and they want to knit us scarves, gloves and hats for Christmas. It turns out she also has a quilting circle so possibly by next year, Williamsburgs Homeless & Indigent will have it's own quilt representing the area and the homeless situation! Cool.


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