A few months ago, I asked for your help in organizing supplies for homeless veterans in northern Arizona. Last week, I traveled with coworkers to Cottonwood. We toured The Loft and handed off dozens of hygiene kits, hand knit beanies, tubes of chap-stick and bottles of sunscreen.
The volunteers who run The Loft — the only homeless outreach center in the Verde Valley — were exceptionally thankful. This handful of folks see that 20 homeless people per day can come in for a shower, to wash laundry or some new gently-used clothing, for something warm to drink, or a used book. They can also use the phone, and have a chance to get online.
Volunteers work with those who are interested in securing Social Security cards, birth certificates, proof of veteran status. From there, access to programs helping them move from hidden tent cities in the middle of the forest to safe, permanent supportive housing, is easier.
They have found housing for more than 50 people. And they had 3400 visits just last year with an operating budget of less than $30,000. This is as grass root community work as you are going to come by: neighbors helping those in their community in need to get a warm meal, find something new and clean to wear, and complete the necessary red tape to secure benefits.
If, by off chance, you live in northern Arizona and are interested in helping The Loft, they have an on-going need for Thursday volunteers. On Thursdays, the site is closed to visitors. Volunteers are needed to sort, wash and fold donated clothing and to help keep the small facility organized and efficient. Also, they really need size 30-32 men’s pants.
Thank you again, blog friends. You are a wildly generous bunch!