(still catching up on old blogs..)
On Thursday, January 15, 2009 I posted as a blog that was an article from the Detroit News entitled "Deep freeze: Metro Detroit shelters packed" (http://littledsworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/deep-freeze-metro-detroit-shelters.html ) and this blog is the experience i had when i went to the NSO, one of the places highlighted in the article after work that night .
After reading the article at worked I decided to take everything i had accumulated and stored in a library cubicle at work from begging all sorts of people i know and from having my co-worker Amber Arellano bring in tons from the benefit we hosted in Ann Arbor to support Gleaners as well collect items. And people were still and still are getting stuff to her. Needless to say there was a ton of stuff, so much that it took two carts and three people to take all the items down and load into my jeep. Her and a researcher whose name i sadly forget took all the stuff down while i ran and got the jeep and we all loaded the whole vehicle to the gills with bags of clothes and food.
The researcher offered to go with me and now i wished i taken him up on his offer but it was late and i had another committee afterwards. He was very cool and we were having a great chat when i bamboozled him into helping up, we were talking about the Cass Corridor and how he grew up there and was doing research on a book he was writing on the subject...so i was very interested in his work!
Once the jeep was loaded I went to NSO before my 7pm meeting up at the Bronx in the Corridor. Having never been to the building i had no idea how to get in and having called earlier in the day i was given no special instructions despite there being NO door off of Third Street so i slowly drove by trying not to look like a dumb lost white girl then i circled around and pulled up in front of the fenced in parking lot just before the building.
I got out and started to walk figuring i would find a door and was saying "Hi" to people and being greeted back then i started to ask how to get in the building and then i saw a fenced off area that lead to a door. I explained i was looking to get inside and people lead me to the door and i thanked them. Once in headed down the sloped floor toward the metal detector when i heard someone yelling at me. "Hey you Highway Lady" i turned to see Wendell and he asked if i had any stuff and i told him that is why i am there. He asked if I had shoes, i told him i had a small bag full and i would let him go through it. He thanked me.
As i entered past the metal detector it of course beeped and went off...like three times before the two guys checking people in just told me to stop and asked me what it was i wanted...but not before like everyone sitting in the room on metal folding chairs had turned to see who the fuck didn't know any better then to empty there pockets before entering...that would be me!!!
i tried to explain to the first guy but i was either talking to fast (who me) or he was just overwhelmed by me and directed me to the next guy who i was better able to explain that i had talked to someone earlier in the day about bringing a bunch of clothing in due to the frozen temps so that they could cloth people.
He told me to follow him..back through the metal detector where i again beeped and went off. He took me through a door i had not noticed before into a hallway then past a series of open and closed doors, one with little kids playing and doing homework. He led me to a room where Ms. Dixon was doing work. I had obviously interrupted and tried to tell her why i was there and that i had a jeep full of items for her, she asked how much i told her "A lot". She asked a young man in the room if he would help me out. John helped though he was not very happy to..lucky for me others helped as well including the man who lead me to her and a few of the guys on the street!
As i headed out to my jeep Wendell caught up with me and i dug out the bag of shoes for him and drove my jeep into the fenced in parking lot toward a door that entered the building. I hopped out and opened the bag of jeep and said "Take it " and before you know it we had a line of people taking stuff in to the room where I had meet Ms. Dixon, once the jeep was empty i shut her up and went to tell her 'thank you' and i saw the pile of stuff it was huge i think she was a bit surprised. I asked her if she needed me to fill out any paperwork, she asked if I wanted a form for a tax deduction, i told her no way and we said our good byes.
When i was heading out of the parking lot i head Wendle yelling at me again saying good bye. I asked him to please get into a shelter tonight knowing this one was at capacity and that even though the temps were so frigid as it was it was going to get colder that night and into the next day. He told me the people outside were waiting for a bus to take them to the Radamacker recreational center on southwest side b Livernois between Fort and Jefferson. And as he said that he pointed to it coming down MLK Blvd turning onto Third. Good Timing. He quickly told me to go check it out sometimes as they offer the service of being open 24 hours due to negative temperatures and offer 3 meals a day. Amen! We said our goodbyes as he had to get in line for the bus to make sure he did not miss out!!
By time i got to Bronx I was so cold that I hurt like i have never before due to the weather. I was physically in pain as much so that moving and even touching..hell not even touching my fingers and toes was excruciating and nothing could get me warm even though i stayed there for a 5 hours thaw out session. I took the longest hottest shower when i got home and was so grateful more than i ever had been to have a place to take a warm shower and have a warm bed to curl up into.
Labels: Detroit, homeless