Technically, the day starts at 9, but there’s someone waiting outside by 8:50, and before my co-worker can take the sign-in out to them and take their temperature, Bethany the Intake Coordinator comes in to give a quick briefing. Two people have called ahead of time; their issues are complicated, so we need to get them into the new database and then let them talk to someone in the office.
The first person through the door needs clothing, food, help with the electric bill, and help for a young pregnant relative. We get her the clothing she needs along with some contacts for maternity and baby care, then take her back to the food pantry. By the time she’s done in the food pantry, Greg is ready to help her with her electric bill.
Two more people come in for food and are taken care of, when I see a former shelter resident outside who I haven’t seen in a while. I go greet her with a hug and ask where she’s been. Turns out she’s been in rehab in another part of the state and is just recently back in town. She’s staying on the street for now, and applying for housing around Charles Town.
Three people come by to see if they have mail. Without housing, they use our address to receive correspondence. One of them has been hard to reach lately, and I know our doctor has been wanting to see him. I ask if he has a minute to come in and see Dr. Humerick. He says that he does need a refill on his medication and is willing to wait today.
One of the doctor’s patients needs some testing done at the hospital, but has no way to get there; Keith takes him.
Annette, a case manager, comes to check that one of our clients without housing is still eligible for clothing. He needs something clean to change into after his shower today. He isn’t actually eligible for clothing yet – he’s been getting new clothes to change into every couple of days. Annette gets him new clothes anyway, but we remind him that he needs to bring the dirty ones back to do laundry here, so he can wear them again. Mercy and grace. John takes him along with two others to get showers over at Asbury.
Someone else I know is walking around outside fighting with his phone. I go ask how he’s doing, and he tells me of a friend of ours who died last week – a heart attack in his apartment – and we reminisce for a moment. Then he asks if someone can help him get a phone; his isn’t working. I go find Gale, a long-time office volunteer, who gives him the information he needs and tells him to come back if he has any trouble getting the new phone ordered.
One of the people with some more complicated issues comes and is taken to the office to figure out exactly how we can help. She’s later given an appointment with Kasey, the case management supervisor, for some follow up.
By noon, the other person we had been waiting for hasn’t arrived. It’s alright. We’ll be open again tomorrow at 9am helping more of our neighbors with dignity and compassion.